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Title:  The Malay Archipelago

Author:  by Alfred Russell Wallace

February, 2001  [Etext #2538]

Project Gutenberg Etext The Malay Archipelago by Alfred R. Wallace

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The Malay Archipelago by Alfred R. Wallace






ON the morning of the 8th of January, 1858, I arrived at Ternate,

the fourth of a row of fine conical volcanic islands which shirt

the west coast of the large and almost unknown n island of

Gilolo. The largest and most perfectly conical mountain is

Tidore, which is over four thousand Feet high--Ternate being very

nearly the same height, but with a more rounded and irregular

summit. The town of Ternate is concealed from view till we enter

between the two islands, when it is discovered stretching along

the shore at the very base of the mountain. Its situation is

fine, and there are grand views on every side. Close opposite is

the rugged promontory and beautiful volcanic cone of Tidore; to

the east is the long mountainous coast of Gilolo, terminated

towards the north by a group of three lofty volcanic peaks, while

immediately behind the town rises the huge mountain, sloping

easily at first and covered with thick groves of fruit trees, but

soon becoming steeper, and furrowed with deep gullies. Almost to

the summit, whence issue perpetually faint wreaths of smoke, it

is clothed with vegetation, and looks calm and beautiful,

although beneath are hidden fires which occasionally burst forth

in lava-streams, but more frequently make their existence known

by the earthquakes which have many times devastated the town.

I brought letters of introduction to Mr. Duivenboden, a native of

Ternate, of an ancient Dutch family, but who was educated in

England, and speaks our language perfectly. He was a very rich

man, owned half the town, possessed many ships, and above a

hundred slaves. He was moreover, well educated, and fond of

literature and science--a phenomenon in these regions. He was

generally known as the king of Ternate, from his large property

and great influence with the native Rajahs and their subjects.

Through his assistance I obtained a house; rather ruinous, but

well adapted to my purpose, being close to the town, yet with a

free outlet to the country and the mountain. A few needful

repairs were soon made, some bamboo furniture and other

necessaries obtained, and after a visit to the Resident and

Police Magistrate I found myself an inhabitant of the earthquake-

tortured island of Ternate, and able to look about me and lay

down the plan of my campaign for the ensuing year. I retained

this house for three years, as I found it very convenient to have

a place to return to after my voyages to the various islands of

the Moluccas and New Guinea, where I could pack my collections,

recruit my health, and make preparations for future journeys. To

avoid repetitions, I will in this chapter combine what notes I

have about Ternate.

A description of my house (the plan of which is here shown) will

enable the reader to understand a very common mode of building in

these islands. There is of course only one floor. The walls are

of stone up to three feet high; on this are strong squared posts

supporting the roof, everywhere except in the verandah filled in

with the leaf-stems of the sago-palm, fitted neatly in wooden

owing. The floor is of stucco, and the ceilings are like the

walls. The house is forty feet square, consists of four rooms, a

hall, and two verandahs, and is surrounded by a wilderness of

fruit trees. A deep well supplied me with pure cold water, a

great luxury in this climate. Five minutes' walk down the road

brought me to the market and the beach, while in the opposite

direction there were no more European houses between me and the

mountain. In this house I spent many happy days. Returning to it

after a three or four months' absence in some uncivilized region,

I enjoyed the unwonted luxuries of milk and fresh bread, and

regular supplies of fish and eggs, meat and vegetables, which

were often sorely needed to restore my health and energy. I had

ample space and convenience or unpacking, sorting, and arranging

my treasures, and I had delightful walks in the suburbs of the

town, or up the lower slopes of the mountain, when I desired a

little exercise, or had time for collecting.

The lower part of the mountain, behind the town of Ternate, is

almost entirely covered with a forest of fruit trees, and during

the season hundreds of men and women, boys and girls, go up every

day to bring down the ripe fruit. Durians and Mangoes, two of the

very finest tropical fruits, are in greater abundance at Ternate

than I have ever seen them, and some of the latter are of a

quality not inferior to any in the world. Lansats and Mangustans

are also abundant, but these do not ripen till a little later.

Above the fruit trees there is a belt of clearings and cultivated

grounds, which creep up the mountain to a height of between two

and three thousand feet, above which is virgin forest, reaching

nearly to the summit, which on the side next the town is covered

with a high reedy grass. On the further side it is more elevated,

of a bare and desolate aspect, with a slight depression marking

the position of the crater. From this part descends a black

scoriaceous tract; very rugged, and covered with a scanty

vegetation of scattered bushes as far down as the sea. This is

the lava of the great eruption near a century ago, and is called

by the natives "batu-angas"(burnt rock).

Just below my house is the fort, built by the Portuguese, below

which is an open space to the peach, and beyond this the native

town extends for about a mile to the north-east. About the centre

of it is the palace of the Sultan, now a large untidy, half-

ruinous building of stone. This chief is pensioned by the Dutch

Government, but retains the sovereignty over the native

population of the island, and of the northern part of Gilolo. The

sultans of Ternate and Tidore were once celebrated through the

East for their power and regal magnificence. When Drake visited

Ternate in 1579, the Portuguese had been driven out of the

island, although they still had a settlement at Tidore. He gives

a glowing account of the Sultan: "The King had a very rich canopy

with embossings of gold borne over him, and was guarded with

twelve lances. From the waist to the ground was all cloth of

gold, and that very rich; in the attire of his head were finely

wreathed in, diverse rings of plaited gold, of an inch or more in

breadth, which made a fair and princely show, somewhat resembling

a crown in form; about his neck he had a chain of perfect gold,

the links very great and one fold double; on his left hand was a

diamond, an emerald, a ruby, and a turky; on his right hand in

one ring a big and perfect turky, and in another ring many

diamonds of a smaller size."

All this glitter of barbaric gold was the produce of the spice

trade, of which the Sultans kept the monopoly, and by which they

became wealthy. Ternate, with the small islands in a line south

of it, as far as Batchian, constitute the ancient Moluccas, the

native country of the clove, as well as the only part in which it

was cultivated. Nutmegs and mace were procured from the natives

of New Guinea and the adjacent islands, where they grew wild; and

the profits on spice cargoes were so enormous, that the European

traders were glad to give gold and jewels, and the finest

manufactures of Europe or of India, in exchange. When the Dutch

established their influence in these seas, and relieved the

native princes from their Portuguese oppressors, they saw that

the easiest way to repay themselves would be to get this spice

trade into their own hands. For this purpose they adopted the

wise principle of concentrating the culture of these valuable

products in those spots only of which they could have complete

control. To do this effectually it was necessary to abolish the

culture and trade in all other places, which they succeeded in

doing by treaty with the native rulers. These agreed to have all

the spice trees in their possessions destroyed. They gave up

large though fluctuating revenues, but they gained in return a

fixed subsidy, freedom from the constant attacks and harsh

oppressions of the Portuguese, and a continuance of their regal

power and exclusive authority over their own subjects, which is

maintained in all the islands except Ternate to this day.

It is no doubt supposed by most Englishmen, who have been

accustomed to look upon this act of the Dutch with vague horror,

as something utterly unprincipled and barbarous, that the native

population suffered grievously by this destruction of such

valuable property. But it is certain that this was not the case.

The Sultans kept this lucrative trade entirely in their own hands

as a rigid monopoly, and they would take care not to give, their

subjects more than would amount to their usual wages, while: they

would surely exact as large a quantity of spice as they could

possibly obtain. Drake and other early voyagers always seem to

have purchased their spice-cargoes from the Sultans and Rajahs,

and not from the cultivators. Now the absorption of so much

labour in the cultivation of this one product must necessarily

have raised the price of food and other necessaries; and when it

was abolished, more rice would be grown, more sago made, more

fish caught, and more tortoise-shell, rattan, gum-dammer, and

other valuable products of the seas and the forests would be

obtained. I believe, therefore, that this abolition of the spice

trade in the Moluccas was actually beneficial to the inhabitants,

and that it was an act both wise in itself and morally and

politically justifiable.

In the selection of the places in which to carry on the

cultivation, the Dutch were not altogether fortunate or wise.

Banda was chosen for nutmegs, and was eminently successful, since

; continues to this day to produce a large supply of this spice,

and to yield a considerable revenue. Amboyna was fixed upon for

establishing the clove cultivation; but the soil and climate,

although apparently very similar to that of its native islands,

is not favourable, and for some years the Government have

actually been paying to the cultivators a higher rate than they

could purchase cloves elsewhere, owing to a great fall in the

price since the rate of payment was fixed for a term of years by

the Dutch Government, and which rate is still most honourably


In walking about the suburbs of Ternate, we find everywhere the

ruins of massive stone and brick buildings, gateways and arches,

showing at once the superior wealth of the ancient town and the

destructive effects of earthquakes. It was during my second stay

in the town, after my return from New Guinea, that I first felt

an earthquake. It was a very slight one, scarcely more than has

been felt in this country, but occurring in a place that lad been

many times destroyed by them it was rather more exciting. I had

just awoke at gun-fire (5 A.M.), when suddenly the thatch began

to rustle and shake as if an army of cats were galloping over it,

and immediately afterwards my bed shook too, so that for an

instant I imagined myself back in New Guinea, in my fragile

house, which shook when an old cock went to roost on the ridge;

but remembering that I was now on a solid earthen floor, I said

to myself, "Why, it's an earthquake," and lay still in the

pleasing expectation of another shock; but none came, and this

was the only earthquake I ever felt in Ternate.

The last great one was in February 1840, when almost every house

in the place was destroyed. It began about midnight on the

Chinese New Year's festival, at which time every one stays up

nearly all night feasting at the Chinamen's houses and seeing the

processions. This prevented any lives being lost, as every one

ran out of doors at the first shock, which was not very severe.

The second, a few minutes afterwards, threw down a great many

houses, and others, which continued all night and part of the

next day, completed the devastation. The line of disturbance was

very narrow, so that the native town a mile to the east scarcely

suffered at all. The wave passed from north to south, through the

islands of Tidore and Makian, and terminated in Batchian, where

it was not felt till four the following afternoon, thus taking no

less than sixteen hours to travel a hundred miles, or about six

miles an hour. It is singular that on this occasion there was no

rushing up of the tide, or other commotion of the sea, as is

usually the case during great earthquakes.

The people of Ternate are of three well-marked races the Ternate

Malays, the Orang Sirani, and the Dutch. The first are an

intrusive Malay race somewhat allied to the Macassar people, who

settled in the country at a very early epoch, drove out the

indigenes, who were no doubt the same as those of the adjacent

mainland of Gilolo, and established a monarchy. They perhaps

obtained many of their wives from the natives, which will account

for the extraordinary language they speak--in some respects

closely  allied to that of the natives of Gilolo, while it

contains much that points to a Malayan origin. To most of these

people the Malay language is quite unintelligible, although such

as are engaged in trade are obliged to acquire it. "Orang

Sirani," or Nazarenes, is the name given by the Malays to the

Christian descendants of the Portuguese, who resemble those of

Amboyna, and, like them, speak only Malay. There are also a

number of Chinese merchants, many of them natives of the place, a

few Arabs, and a number of half-breeds between all these races

and native women. Besides these there are some Papuan slaves, and

a few natives of other islands settled here, making up a motley

and very puzzling population, till inquiry and observation have

shown the distinct origin of its component parts.

Soon after my first arrival in Ternate I went to the island of

Gilolo, accompanied by two sons of Mr. Duivenboden, and by a

young Chinaman, a brother of my landlord, who lent us the boat

and crew. These latter were all slaves, mostly Papuans, and at

starting I saw something of the relation of master and slave in

this part of the world. The crew had been ordered to be ready at

three in the morning, instead of which none appeared till five,

we having all been kept waiting in the dark and cold for two

hours. When at length they came they were scolded by their

master, but only in a bantering manner, and laughed and joked

with him in reply. Then, just as we were starting, one of the

strongest men refused to go at all, and his master had to beg and

persuade him to go, and only succeeded by assuring him that I

would give him something; so with this promise, and knowing that

there would be plenty to eat and drink and little to do, the

black gentleman was induced to favour us with his company and

assistance. In three hours' rowing and sailing we reached our

destination, Sedingole, where there is a house belonging to the

Sultan of Tidore, who sometimes goes there hunting. It was a

dirty ruinous shed, with no furniture but a few bamboo bedsteads.

On taking a walk into the country, I saw at once that it was no

place for me. For many miles extends a plain covered with coarse

high grass, thickly dotted here and there with trees, the forest

country only commencing at the hills a good way in the interior.

Such a place would produce few birds and no insects, and we

therefore arranged to stay only two days, and then go on to

Dodinga, at the narrow central isthmus of Gilolo, whence my

friends would return to Ternate. We amused ourselves shooting

parrots, lories, and pigeons, and trying to shoot deer, of which

we saw plenty, but could not get one; and our crew went out

fishing with a net, so we did not want for provisions. When the

time came for us to continue our journey, a fresh difficulty

presented itself, for our gentlemen slaves refused in a body to

go with us; saying very determinedly that they would return to

Ternate. So their masters were obliged to submit, and I was left

behind to get to Dodinga as I could. Luckily I succeeded in

hiring a small boat, which took me there the same night, with my

two men and my baggage.

Two or three years after this, and about the same length of time

before I left the East, the Dutch emancipated all their slaves,

paying their owners a small compensation. No ill results

followed. Owing to the amicable relations which had always

existed between them and their masters, due no doubt in part to

the Government having long accorded them legal rights and

protection against cruelty and ill-usage, many continued in the

same service, and after a little temporary difficulty in some

cases, almost all returned to work either for their old or for

new, masters. The Government took the very proper step of placing

every emancipated slave under the surveillance of the police-

magistrate. They were obliged to show that they were working for

a living, and had some honestly-acquired means of existence. All

who could not do so were placed upon public works at low wages,

and thus were kept from the temptation to peculation or other

crimes, which the excitement of newly-acquired freedom, and

disinclination to labour, might have led them into.




I MADE but few and comparatively short visits to this large and

little known island, but obtained a considerable knowledge of its

natural history by sending first my boy Ali, and then my

assistant, Charles Allen, who stayed two or three months each in

the northern peninsula, and brought me back large collections of

birds and insects. In this chapter I propose to give a sketch of

the parts which I myself visited. My first stay was at Dodinga,

situated at the head of a deep-bay exactly opposite Ternate, and

a short distance up a little stream which penetrates a few miles

inland. The village is a small one, and is completely shut in by

low hills.

As soon as I arrived, I applied to the head man of the village

for a house to live in, but all were occupied, and there was much

difficulty in finding one. In the meantime I unloaded my baggage

on the beach and made some tea, and afterwards discovered a small

but which the owner was willing to vacate if I would pay him five

guilders for a month's rent. As this was something less than the

fee-simple value of the dwelling, I agreed to give it him for the

privilege of immediate occupation, only stipulating that he was

to make the roof water-tight. This he agreed to do, and came

every day to tally and look at me; and when I each time insisted

upon his immediately mending the roof according to contract, all

the answer I could get was, "Ea nanti," (Yes, wait a little.)

However, when I threatened to deduct a quarter guilder from the

rent for every day it was not done, and a guilder extra if any of

my things were wetted, he condescended to work for half an hour,

which did all that was absolutely necessary.

On the top of a bank, of about a hundred feet ascent from the

water, stands the very small but substantial fort erected by the

Portuguese. Its battlements and turrets have long since been

overthrown by earthquakes, by which its massive structure has

also been rent; but it cannot well be thrown down, being a solid

mass of stonework, forming a platform about ten feet high, and

perhaps forty feet square. It is approached by narrow steps under

an archway, and is now surmounted by a row of thatched hovels, in

which live the small garrison, consisting of, a Dutch corporal

and four Javanese soldiers, the sole representatives of the

Netherlands Government in the island. The village is occupied

entirely by Ternate men. The true indigenes of Gilolo, "Alfuros"

as they are here called, live on the eastern coast, or in the

interior of the northern peninsula. The distance across the

isthmus at this place is only two miles, and there, is a good

path, along which rice and sago are brought from the eastern

villages. The whole isthmus is very rugged, though not high,

being a succession of little abrupt hills anal valleys, with

angular masses of limestone rock everywhere projecting, and often

almost blocking up the pathway. Most of it is virgin forest, very

luxuriant and picturesque, and at this time having abundance of

large scarlet Ixoras in flower, which made it exceptionally gay.

I got some very nice insects here, though, owing to illness most

of the time, my collection was a small one, and my boy Ali shot

me a pair of one of the most beautiful birds of the East, Pitta

gigas, a lame ground-thrush, whose plumage of velvety black above

is relieved by a breast of pure white, shoulders of azure blue,

and belly of vivid crimson. It has very long and strong legs, and

hops about with such activity in the dense tangled forest,

bristling with rocks, as to make it very difficult to shoot.

In September 1858, after my return from New Guinea, I went to

stay some time at the village of Djilolo, situated in a bay on

the northern peninsula. Here I obtained a house through the

kindness of the Resident of Ternate, who sent orders to prepare

one for me. The first walk into the unexplored forests of a new

locality is a moment of intense interest to the naturalist, as it

is almost sure to furnish him with something curious or hitherto

unknown. The first thing I saw here was a flock of small

parroquets, of which I shot a pair, and was pleased to find a

most beautiful little long-tailed bird, ornamented with green,

red, and blue colours, and quite new to me. It was a variety of

the Charmosyna placentis, one of the smallest and most elegant of

the brush-tongued lories. My hunters soon shot me several other

fine birds, and I myself found a specimen of the rare and

beautiful day-flying moth, Cocytia d'Urvillei.

The village of Djilolo was formerly the chief residence of the

Sultans of Ternate, till about eighty years ago, when at the

request of the Dutch they removed to their present abode. The

place was then no doubt much more populous, as is indicated by

the wide extent of cleared land in the neighbourhood, now covered

with coarse high grass, very disagreeable to walk through, and

utterly barren to the naturalist. A few days' exploring showed me

that only some small patches of forest remained for miles wound,

and the result was a scarcity of insects and a very limited

variety of birds, which obliged me to change my locality. There

was another village called Sahoe, to which there was a road of

about twelve miles overland, and this had been recommended to me

as a good place for birds, and as possessing a large population

both of Mahomotans and Alfuros, which latter race I much wished

to see. I set off one morning to examine this place myself,

expecting to pass through some extent of forest on my way. In

this however I was much disappointed, as the whole road lies

through grass and scrubby thickets, and it was only after

reaching the village of Sahoe that some high forest land was

perceived stretching towards the mountains to the north of it.

About half-way we dad to pass a deep river on a bamboo raft,

which almost sunk beneath us. This stream was said to rise a long

way off to the northward.

Although Sahoe did not at all appear what I expected, I

determined to give it a trial, and a few days afterwards obtained

a boat to carry my things by sea while I walked overland. A large

house on the beach belonging to the Sultan was given me. It stood

alone, and was quite open on every side, so that little privacy

could be had, but as I only intended to stay a short time I made

it do. Avery, few days dispelled all hopes I might have

entertained of making good collections in this place. Nothing was

to be found in every direction but interminable tracts of reedy

grass, eight or ten feet high, traversed by narrow baths, often

almost impassable. Here and there were clumps of fruit trees,

patches of low wood, and abundance of plantations and rice

grounds, all of which are, in tropical regions, a very desert for

the entomologist. The virgin forest that I was in search of,

existed only on the summits and on the steep rocky sides of the

mountains a long way off, and in inaccessible situations. In the

suburbs of the village I found a fair number of bees and wasps,

and some small but interesting beetles. Two or three new birds

were obtained by my hunters, and by incessant inquiries and

promises  succeeded in getting the natives to bring me some land

shells, among which was a very fine and handsome one, Helix

pyrostoma. I was, however, completely wasting my time here

compared with what I might be doing in a good locality, and after

a week returned to Ternate, quite disappointed with my first

attempts at collecting in Gilolo.

In the country round about Sahoe, and in the interior, there is a

large population of indigenes, numbers of whom came daily into

the village, bringing their produce for sale, while others were

engaged as labourers by the Chinese and Ternate traders. A

careful examination convinced me that these people are radically

distinct from all the Malay races. Their stature and their

features, as well as their disposition and habits, are almost the

same as those of the Papuans; their hair is semi-Papuan-neither

straight, smooth, and glossy, like all true Malays', nor so

frizzly and woolly as the perfect Papuan type, but always crisp,

waved, and rough, such as often occurs among the true Papuans,

but never among the Malays. Their colour alone is often exactly

that of the Malay, or even lighter. Of course there has been

intermixture, and there occur occasionally individuals which it

is difficult to classify; but in most cases the large, somewhat

aquiline nose, with elongated apex, the tall stature, the waved

hair, the bearded face, and hairy body, as well as the less

reserved manner and louder voice, unmistakeably proclaim the

Papuan type. Here then I had discovered the exact boundary lice

between the Malay and Papuan races, and at a spot where no other

writer had expected it. I was very much pleased at this

determination, as it gave me a clue to one of the most difficult

problems in Ethnology, and enabled me in many other places to

separate the two races, and to unravel their intermixtures.

On my return from Waigiou in 1860, I stayed some days on the

southern extremity of Gilolo; but, beyond seeing something more

of its structure and general character, obtained very little

additional information. It is only in the northern peninsula that

there are any indgenes, the whole of the rest of the island,

with Batchian and the other islands westward, being exclusively

inhabited by Malay tribes, allied to those of Ternate and Tidore.

This would seem to indicate that the Alfuros were a comparatively

recent immigration, and that they lead come from the north or

east, perhaps from some of the islands of the Pacific. It is

otherwise difficult to understand how so many fertile districts

should possess no true indigenes.

Gilolo, or Halmaheira as it is called by the Malays and Dutch,

seems to have been recently modified by upheaval and subsidence.

In 1673, a mountain is said to stave been upheaved at Gamokonora

on the northern peninsula. All the parts that I have seen have

either been volcanic or coralline, and along the coast there are

fringing coral reefs very dangerous to navigation. At the same

time, the character of its natural history proves it to be a

rather ancient land, since it possesses a number of animals

peculiar to itself or common to the small islands around it, but

almost always distinct from those of New Guinea on the east, of

Ceram on the south, and of Celebes and the Sula islands on the


The island of Morty, close to the north-eastern extremity of

Gilolo, was visited by my assistant Charles Allen, as well as by

Dr. Bernstein; and the collections obtained there present some

curious differences from those of the main island. About fifty-

six species of land-birds are known to inhabit this island, and

of these, a kingfisher (Tanysiptera Boris), a honey-sucker

(Tropidorhynchus fuscicapillus), and a large crow-like starling

(Lycocorax morotensis), are quite distinct from allied species

found in Gilolo. The island is coralline and sandy, and we must

therefore believe it to have been separated from Gilolo at a

somewhat remote epoch; while we learn from its natural history

that an arm of the sea twenty-five miles wide serves to limit the

range even of birds of considerable powers of flight.



(OCTOBER 1858.)

ON returning to Ternate from Sahoe, I at once began  making

preparations for a journey to Batchian, an island which I had

been constantly recommended to visit since I had arrived in this

part of the Moluccas. After all was ready I found that I should

have to hire a boat, as no opportunity of obtaining a passage

presented itself. I accordingly went into the native town, and

could only find two boats for hire, one much larger than I

required, and the other far smaller than I wished. I chose the

smaller one, chiefly because it would not cost me one-third as

much as the larger one, and also because in a coasting voyage a

small vessel can be more easily managed, and more readily got

into a place of safety during violent gales, than a large one. I

took with me my Bornean lad Ali, who was now very useful to me;

Lahagi, a native of Ternate, a very good steady man, and a fair

shooter, who had been with me to New Guinea; Lahi, a native of

Gilolo, who could speak Malay, as woodcutter and general

assistant; and Garo, a boy who was to act as cook. As the boat

was so small that we had hardly room to stow ourselves away when

all my stores were on board, I only took one other man named

Latchi, as pilot. He was a Papuan slave, a tall, strong black

fellow, but very civil and careful. The boat I had hired from a

Chinaman named Lau Keng Tong, for five guilders a month.

We started on the morning of October 9th, but had not got a

hundred yards from land, when a strong head wind sprung up,

against which we could not row, so we crept along shore to below

the town, and waited till the turn of the tide should enable us

to cross over to the coast of Tidore. About three in the

afternoon we got off, and found that our boat sailed well, and

would keep pretty close to the wind. We got on a good way before

the wind fell and we had to take to our oars again. We landed on

a nice sandy beach to cook our suppers, just as the sun set

behind the rugged volcanic hills, to the south of the great cone

of Tidore, and soon after beheld the planet Venus shining in the

twilight with the brilliancy of a new moon, and casting a very

distinct shadow. We left again a little before seven, and as we

got out from the shadow of the mountain I observed a bright light

over one part of the edge, and soon after, what seemed a fire of

remarkable whiteness on the very summit of the hill. I called the

attention of my men to it, and they too thought it merely a fire;

but a few minutes afterwards, as we got farther off shore, the

light rose clear up above the ridge of the hill, and some faint

clouds clearing away from it, discovered the magnificent comet

which was at the same time, astonishing all Europe. The nucleus

presented to the naked eye a distinct disc of brilliant white

light, from which the tail rose at an angle of about 30 or 35

with the horizon, curving slightly downwards, and terminating in

a broad brush of faint light, the curvature of which diminished

till it was nearly straight at the end. The portion of the tail

next the comet appeared three or four tunes as bright as the most

luminous portion of the milky way, and what struck me as a

singular feature was that its upper margin, from the nucleus to

very near the extremity, was clearly and almost sharply defined,

while the lower side gradually shaded off into obscurity.

Directly it rose above the ridge of the hill, I said to my men,

"See, it's not a fire, it's a bintang ber-ekor" ("tailed-star,"

the Malay idiom for a comet). "So it is," said they; and all

declared that they had often heard tell of such, but had never

seen one till now. I had no telescope with me, nor any instrument

at hand, but I estimated the length of the tail at about 20, and

the width, towards the extremity, about 4 or 5.

The whole of the next day we were obliged to stop near the

village of Tidore, owing to a strong wind right in our teeth. The

country was all cultivated, and I in vain searched for any

insects worth capturing. One of my men went out to shoot, but

returned home without a single bird. At sunset, the wind having

dropped, we quitted Tidore, and reached the next island, March,

where we stayed till morning. The comet was again visible, but

not nearly so brilliant, being partly obscured by clouds; and

dimmed by the light of the new moon. We then rowed across to the

island of Motir, which is so surrounded with coral-reefs that it

is dangerous to approach. These are perfectly flat, and are only

covered at high water, ending in craggy vertical walls of coral

in very deep water. When there is a little wind, it is dangerous

to come near these rocks; but luckily it was quite smooth, so we

moored to their edge, while the men crawled over the reef to the

land, to make; a fire and cook our dinner-the boat having no

accommodation for more than heating water for my morning and

evening coffee. We then rowed along the edge of the reef to the

end of the island, and were glad to get a nice westerly breeze,

which carried us over the strait to the island of Makian, where

we arrived about 8 P.M, The sky was quite clear, and though the

moon shone brightly, the comet appeared with quite as much

splendour as when we first saw it.

The coasts of these small islands are very different according to

their geological formation. The volcanoes, active or extinct,

have steep black beaches of volcanic sand, or are fringed with

rugged masses of lava and basalt. Coral is generally absent,

occurring only in small patches in quiet bays, and rarely or

never forming reefs. Ternate, Tidore, and Makian belong to this

class. Islands of volcanic origin, not themselves volcanoes, but

which have been probably recently upraised, are generally more or

less completely surrounded by fringing reefs of coral, and have

beaches of shining white coral sand. Their coasts present

volcanic conglomerates, basalt, and in some places a foundation

of stratified rocks, with patches of upraised coral. Mareh and

Motir are of this character, the outline of the latter giving it

the appearance of having been a true volcano, and it is said by

Forrest to have thrown out stones in l778. The next day (Oct.

12th), we coasted along the island of Makian, which consists of a

single grand volcano. It was now quiescent, but about two

centuries ago (in 1646) there was a terrible eruption, which blew

up the whole top of the mountain, leaving the truncated jagged

summit and vast gloomy crater valley which at this time

distinguished it. It was said to have been as lofty as Tidore

before this catastrophe. [Soon after I' left the Archipelago, on

the 29th of December, 1862, another eruption of this mountain

suddenly took place, which caused great devastation in the

island. All the villages and crops were destroyed, and numbers of

the inhabitants killed. The sand and ashes fell so thick that the

crops were partially destroyed fifty miles off, at Ternate, where

it was so dark the following day that lamps had to be lighted at

noon. For the position of this and the adjacent islands, see the

map in Chapter XXXVII.]

I stayed some time at a place where I saw a new clearing on a

very steep part of the mountain, and obtained a few interesting

insects. In the evening we went on to the extreme southern point,

to be ready to pass across the fifteen-mile strait to the island

of Kaia. At five the next morning we started, but the wind,

which had hitherto been westerly, now got to the south and

southwest, and we had to row almost all the way with a burning

sun overhead. As we approached land a fine breeze sprang up, and

we went along at a great pace; yet after an hour we were no

nearer, and found we were in a violent current carrying us out to

sea. At length we overcame it, and got on shore just as the sun

set, having been exactly thirteen hours coming fifteen miles. We

landed on a beach of hard coralline rock, with rugged cliffs of

the same, resembling those of the Ke Islands (Chap. XXIX.) It was

accompanied by a brilliancy and luxuriance of the vegetation,

very like what I had observed at those islands, which so much

pleased me that I resolved to stay a few days at the chief

village, and see if their animal productions were correspondingly

interesting. While searching for a secure anchorage for the night

we again saw the comet, still apparently as brilliant as at

first, but the tail had now risen to a higher angle.

October 14th.--All this day we coasted along the Kaia Islands,

which have much the appearance and outline of Ke on a small

scale, with the addition of flat swampy tracts along shore, and

outlying coral reefs. Contrary winds and currents had prevented

our taking the proper course to the west of them, and we had to

go by a circuitous route round the southern extremity of one

island, often having to go far out to sea on account of coral

reefs. On trying to pass a channel through one of these reefs we

were grounded, and all had to get out into the water, which in

this shallow strait had been so heated by the sun as to be

disagreeably warm, and drag our vessel a considerable distance

among weeds and sponges, corals and prickly corallines. It was

late at night when we reached the little village harbour, and we

were all pretty well knocked up by hard work, and having had

nothing but very brackish water to drink all day-the best we

could find at our last stopping-place. There was a house close to

the shore, built for the use of the Resident of Ternate when he

made his official visits, but now occupied by several native

travelling merchants, among whom I found a place to sleep.

The next morning early I went to the village to find the

"Kapala," or head man. I informed him that I wanted to stay a few

days in the house at the landing, and begged him to have it made

ready for me. He was very civil, and came down at once to get it

cleared, when we found that the traders had already left, on

hearing that I required it. There were no doors to it, so I

obtained the loan of a couple of hurdles to keep out dogs and

other animals. The land here was evidently sinking rapidly, as

shown by the number of trees standing in salt water dead and

dying. After breakfast I started for a walk to the forest-covered

hill above the village, with a couple of boys as guides. It was

exceedingly hot and dry, no rain having fallen for two months.

When we reached an elevation of about two hundred feet, the

coralline rock which fringes the shore was succeeded by a hard

crystalline rock, a kind of metamorphic sandstone. This would

indicate flat there had been a recent elevation of more than two

hundred feet, which had still more recently clanged into a

movement of subsidence. The hill was very rugged, but among dry

sticks and fallen trees I found some good insects, mostly of

forms and species I was already acquainted with from Ternate and

Gilolo. Finding no good paths I returned, and explored the lower

ground eastward of the village, passing through a long range of

plantain and tobacco grounds, encumbered with felled and burnt

logs, on which I found quantities of beetles of the family

Buprestidae of six different species, one of which was new to me.

I then reached a path in the swampy forest where I hoped to find

some butterflies, but was disappointed. Being now pretty well

exhausted by the intense heat, I thought it wise to return and

reserve further exploration for the next day.

When I sat down in the afternoon to arrange my insects, the louse

was surrounded by men, women, and children, lost in amazement at

my unaccountable proceedings; and when, after pinning out the

specimens, I proceeded to write the name of the place on small

circular tickets, and attach one to each, even the old Kapala,

the Mahometan priest, and some Malay traders could not repress

signs of astonishment. If they had known a little more about the

ways and opinions of white men, they would probably have looked

upon me as a fool or a madman, but in their ignorance they

accepted my operations as worthy of all respect, although utterly

beyond their comprehension.

The next day (October 16th) I went beyond the swamp, and found a

place where a new clearing was being made in the virgin forest.

It was a long and hot walk, and the search among the fallen

trunks and branches was very fatiguing, but I was rewarded by

obtaining about seventy distinct species of beetles, of which at

least a dozen were new to me, and many others rare and

interesting. I have never in my life seen beetles so abundant as

they were on this spot. Some dozen species of good-sized golden

Buprestidae, green rose-chafers (Lomaptera), and long-horned

weevils (Anthribidae), were so abundant that they rose up in

swarms as I walked along, filling the air with a loud buzzing

hum. Along with these, several fine Longicorns were almost

equally common, forming such au assemblage as for once to realize

that idea of tropical luxuriance which one obtains by looking

over the drawers of a well-filled cabinet. On the under sides of

the trunks clung numbers of smaller or more sluggish Longicorns,

while on the branches at the edge of the clearing others could be

detected sitting with outstretched antenna ready to take flight

at the least alarm. It was a glorious spot, and one which will

always live in my memory as exhibiting the insect-life of the

tropics in unexampled luxuriance. For the three following days I

continued to visit this locality, adding each time many new

species to my collection-the following notes of which may be

interesting to entomologists. October l5th, 33 species of

beetles; 16th, 70 species; 17th, 47 species; 18th, 40 species;

19th, 56 species--in all about a hundred species, of which forty

were new to me. There were forty-four species of Longicorns among

them, and on the last day I took twenty-eight species of

Longicorns, of which five were new to me.

My boys were less fortunate in shooting. The only birds at all

common were the great red parrot (Eclectus grandis), found in

most of the Moluccas, a crow, and a Megapodius, or mound-maker. A

few of the pretty racquet-tailed kingfishers were also obtained,

but in very poor plumage. They proved, however, to be of a

different species from those found in the other islands, and come

nearest to the bird originally described by Linnaeus under the

name of Alcedo dea, and which came from Ternate. This would

indicate that the small chain of islands parallel to Gilolo have

a few peculiar species in common, a fact which certainly occurs

in insects.

The people of Kaioa interested me much. They are evidently a

mixed race, having Malay and Papuan affinities, and are allied to

the peoples of Ternate and of Gilolo. They possess a peculiar

language, somewhat resembling those of the surrounding islands,

but quite distinct. They are now Mahometans, and are subject to

Ternate, The only fruits seen here were papaws and pine-apples,

the rocky soil and dry climate being unfavourable. Rice, maize,

and plantains flourish well, except that they suffer from

occasional dry seasons like the present one. There is a little

cotton grown, from which the women weave sarongs (Malay

petticoats). There is only one well of good water on the islands,

situated close to the landing-place, to which all the inhabitants

come for drinking water. The men are good boat-builders, and they

make a regular trade of it and seem to be very well off.

After five days at Kaia we continued our journey, and soon got

among the narrow straits and islands which lead down to the town

of Batchian. In the evening we stayed at a settlement of Galela

men. These are natives of a district in the extreme north of

Gilolo, and are great wanderers over this part of the

Archipelago. They build large and roomy praus with outriggers,

and settle on any coast or island they take a fancy for. They

hunt deer and wild pig, drying the meat; they catch turtle and

tripang; they cut down the forest and plant rice or maize, and

are altogether remarkably energetic and industrious. They are

very line people, of light complexion, tall, and with Papuan

features, coming nearer to the drawings and descriptions of the

true Polynesians of Tahiti and Owyhee than any I have seen.

During this voyage I had several times had an opportunity of

seeing my men get fire by friction. A sharp-edged piece of bamboo

is rubbed across the convex surface of another piece, on which a

small notch is first cut. The rubbing is slow at first and

gradually quicker, till it becomes very rapid, and the fine

powder rubbed off ignites and falls through the hole which the

rubbing has cut in the bamboo. This is done with great quickness

and certainty. The Ternate, people use bamboo in another way.

They strike its flinty surface with a bit of broken china, and

produce a spark, which they catch in some kind of tinder.

On the evening of October 21st we reached our destination, having

been twelve days on the voyage. It had been tine weather all the

time, and, although very hot, I had enjoyed myself exceedingly,

and had besides obtained some experience in boat work among

islands and coral reefs, which enabled me afterwards to undertake

much longer voyages of the same kind. The village or town of

Batchian is situated at the head of a wide and deep bay, where a

low isthmus connects the northern and southern mountainous parts

of the island. To the south is a fine. range of mountains, and I

had noticed at several of our landing-places that the geological

formation of the island was very different from those around it.

Whenever rock was visible it was either sandstone in thin layers,

dipping south, or a pebbly conglomerate. Sometimes there was a

little coralline limestone, but no volcanic rocks. The forest had

a dense luxuriance and loftiness seldom found on the dry and

porous lavas and raised coral reefs of Ternate and Gilolo; and

hoping for a corresponding richness in the birds and insects, it

was with much satisfaction and with considerable expectation that

I began my explorations in the hitherto unknown island of




(OCTOBER 1858 To APRIL 1859.)

I LANDED opposite the house kept for the use of the Resident of

Ternate, and was met by a respectable middle-aged Malay, who told

me he was Secretary to the Sultan, and would receive the official

letter with which I had been provided. On giving it him, he at

once informed me I might have the use of the official residence

which was empty. I soon got my things on shore, but on looking

about me found that the house would never do to stay long in.

There was no water except at a considerable distance, and one of

my men would be almost entirely occupied getting water and

firewood, and I should myself have to walk all through the

village every day to the forest, and live almost in public, a

thing I much dislike. The rooms were all boarded, and had

ceilings, which are a great nuisance, as there are no means of

hanging anything up except by driving nails, and not half the

conveniences of a native bamboo and thatch cottage. I accordingly

inquired for a house outside of the village on the road to the

coal mines, and was informed by the Secretary that there was a

small one belonging to the Sultan, and that he would go with me

early next morning to see it.

We had to pass one large river, by a rude but substantial bridge,

and to wade through another fine pebbly stream of clear water,

just beyond which the little but was situated. It was very small,

not raised on posts, but with the earth for a floor, and was

built almost entirely of the leaf-stems of the sago-palm, called

here "gaba-gaba." Across the river behind rose a forest-clad

bank, and a good road close in front of the horse led through

cultivated grounds to the forest about half a mile on, and thence

to the coal mines tour miles further. These advantages at once

decided me, and I told the Secretary I would be very glad to

occupy the house. I therefore sent my two men immediately to buy

"ataps" (palm-leaf thatch) to repair the roof, and the next day,

with the assistance of eight of the Sultan's men, got all my

stores and furniture carried up and pretty comfortably arranged.

A rough bamboo bedstead was soon constructed, and a table made of

boards which I had brought with me, fixed under the window. Two

bamboo chairs, an easy cane chair, and hanging shelves suspended

with insulating oil cups, so as to be safe from ants, completed

my furnishing arrangements.

In the afternoon succeeding my arrival, the Secretary accompanied

me to visit the Sultan. We were kept waiting a few minutes in an

outer gate-house, and then ushered to the door of a rude, half-

fortified whitewashed house. A small table and three chairs were

placed in a large outer corridor, and an old dirty-faced man with

grey hair and a grimy beard, dressed in a speckled blue cotton

jacket and loose red trousers, came forward, shook hands, and

asked me to be coated. After a quarter of an hour's conversation

on my pursuits, in which his Majesty seemed to take great

interest, tea and cakes-of rather better quality than usual on

such occasions-were brought in. I thanked him for the house, and

offered to show him my collections, which he promised to come and

look at. He then asked me to teach him to take views-to make

maps-to get him a small gun from England, and a milch-goat from

Bengal; all of which requests I evaded as skilfully as I was

able, and we parted very good friends. He seemed a sensible old

man, and lamented the small population of the island, which he

assured me was rich in many valuable minerals, including gold;

but there were not people enough to look after them and work

them. I described to him the great rush of population on the

discovery of the Australian gold mines, and the huge nuggets

found there, with which he was much interested, and exclaimed,

"Oh? if we had but people like that, my country would be quite as

rich "

The morning after I had got into my new house, I sent my boys out

to shoot, and went myself to explore the road to the coal mines.

In less than half a mile it entered the virgin forest, at a place

where some magnificent trees formed a kind of natural avenue. The

first part was flat and swampy, but it soon rose a little, and

ran alongside the fine stream which passed behind my house, and

which here rushed and gurgled over a rocky or pebbly bed,

sometimes leaving wide sandbanks on its margins, and at other

places flowing between high banks crowned with a varied and

magnificent forest vegetation. After about two miles, the valley

narrowed, and the road was carried along the steep hill-side

which rose abruptly from the water's edge. In some places the

rock had been cut away, but its surface was already covered with

elegant ferns and creepers. Gigantic tree-ferns were abundant,

and the whole forest had an air of luxuriance and rich variety

which it never attains in the dry volcanic soil to which I had

been lately accustomed. A little further the road passed to the

other side of the valley by a bridge across the stream at a place

where a great mass of rock in the middle offered an excellent

support for it, and two miles more of most picturesque and

interesting road brought me to the mining establishment.

This is situated in a large open space, at a spot where two

tributaries fall into the main stream. Several forest-paths and

new clearings offered fine collecting grounds, and I captured

some new and interesting insects; but as it was getting late I

had to reserve a more thorough exploration for future occasions.

Coal had been discovered here some years before, and the road was

made in order to bring down a sufficient quantity for a fair

trial on the Dutch steamers. The quality, however, was not

thought sufficiently good, and the mines were abandoned. Quite

recently, works had been commenced in another spot, in Hopes of

finding a better vein. There ware about eighty men employed,

chiefly convicts; but this was far too small a number for mining

operations in such a country, where the mere keeping a few miles

of road in repair requires the constant work of several men. If

coal of sufficiently good quality should be found, a tramroad

would be made, and would be very easily worked, owing to the

regular descent of the valley.

Just as I got home I overtook Ali returning from shooting with

some birch hanging from his belt. He seemed much pleased, and

said, "Look here, sir, what a curious bird," holding out what at

first completely puzzled me. I saw a bird with a mass of splendid

green feathers on its breast, elongated into two glittering

tufts; but, what I could not understand was a pair of long white

feathers, which stuck straight out from each shoulder. Ali

assured me that the bird stuck them out this way itself, when

fluttering its wings, and that they had remained so without his

touching them. I now saw that I had got a great prize, no less

than a completely new form of the Bird of Paradise, differing

most remarkably from every other known bird. The general plumage

is very sober, being a pure ashy olive, with a purplish tinge on

the back; the crown of the head is beautifully glossed with pale

metallic violet, and the feathers of the front extend as much

over the beak as inmost of the family. The neck and breast are

scaled with fine metallic green, and the feathers on the lower

part are elongated on each side, so as to form a two-pointed

gorget, which can be folded beneath the wings, or partially

erected and spread out in the same way as the side plumes of most

of the birds of paradise. The four long white plumes which give

the bird its altogether unique character, spring from little

tubercles close to the upper edge of the shoulder or bend of the

wing; they are narrow, gentle curved, and equally webbed on both

sides, of a pure creamy white colour. They arc about six inches

long, equalling the wing, and can be raised at right angles to

it, or laid along the body at the pleasure of the bird. The bill

is horn colour, the legs yellow, and the iris pale olive. This

striking novelty has been named by Mr. G. R. Gray of the British

Museum, Semioptera Wallacei, or "Wallace's Standard wing."

A few days later I obtained an exceedingly beautiful new

butterfly, allied to the fine blue Papilio Ulysses, but differing

from it in the colour being of a more intense tint, and in having

a row of blue stripes around the margin of the lower wings. This

good beginning was, however, rather deceptive, and I soon found

that insects, and especially butterflies, were somewhat scarce,

and birds in tar less variety than I had anticipated. Several of

the fine Moluccan species were however obtained. The handsome red

lory with green wings and a yellow spot in the back (Lorius

garrulus), was not uncommon. When the Jambu, or rose apple

(Eugenic sp.), was in flower in the village, flocks of the little

lorikeet (Charmosyna placentis), already met with in Gilolo, came

to feed upon the nectar, and I obtained as many specimens as I

desired. Another beautiful bird of the parrot tribe was the

Geoffroyus cyanicollis, a green parrot with a red bill and head,

which colour shaded on the crown into azure blue, and thence into

verditer blue and the green of the back. Two large and handsome

fruit pigeons, with metallic green, ashy, and rufous plumage,

were not uncommon; and I was rewarded by finding a splendid deep

blue roller (Eurystomus azureus); a lovely golden-capped sunbird

(Nectarinea auriceps), and a fine racquet-tailed kingfisher

(Tanysiptera isis), all of which were entirely new to

ornithologists. Of insects I obtained a considerable number of

interesting beetles, including many fine longicorns, among which

was the largest and handsomest species of the genus Glenea yet

discovered. Among butterflies the beautiful little Danis sebae

was abundant, making the forests gay with its delicate wings of

white and the richest metallic blue; while showy Papilios, and

pretty Pieridae, and dark, rich Euphaeas, many of them new,

furnished a constant source of interest and pleasing occupation.

The island of Batchian possesses no really indigenous

inhabitants, the interior being altogether uninhabited; and there

are only a few small villages on various parts of the coast; yet

I found here four distinct races, which would wofully mislead an

ethnological traveller unable to obtain information as to their

origin, first there are the Batchian Malays, probably the

earliest colonists, differing very little from those of Ternate.

Their language, however, seems to have more of the Papuan

element, with a mixture of pure Malay, showing that the

settlement is one of stragglers of various races, although now

sufficiently homogeneous. Then there are the "Orang Sirani," as

at Ternate and Amboyna. Many of these have the Portuguese

physiognomy strikingly preserved, but combined with a skin

generally darker than the Malays. Some national customs are

retained, and the Malay, which is their only language, contains a

large number of Portuguese words and idioms. The third race

consists of the Galela men from the north of Gilolo, a singular

people, whom I have already described; and the fourth is a colony

from Tomre, in the eastern peninsula of Celebes. These people

were brought here at their own request a few years ago, to avoid

extermination by another tribe. They have a very light

complexion, open Tartar physiognomy, low stature, and a language

of the Bugis type. They are an industrious agricultural people,

and supply the town with vegetables. They make a good deal of

bark cloth, similar to the tapa of the Polynesians, by cutting

down the proper trees and taping off large cylinders of bark,

which is beaten with mallets till it separates from the wood. It

is then soaked, and so continuously and regularly beaten out that

it becomes as thin and as tough as parchment. In this foam it is

much used for wrappers for clothes; and they also make jackets of

it, sewn neatly together and stained with the juice of another

kind of bark, which gives it a dark red colour and renders it

nearly waterproof.

Here are four very distinct kinds of people who may all be seen

any day in and about the town of Batchian. Now if we suppose a

traveller ignorant of Malay, picking up a word or two here and

there of the "Batchian language," and noting down the "physical

and moral peculiarities, manners, and customs of the Batchian

people"--(for there are travellers who do all this in four-and-

twenty hours)--what an accurate and instructive chapter we should

have' what transitions would be pointed out, what theories of the

origin of races would be developed while the next traveller might

flatly contradict every statement and arrive at exactly opposite


Soon after I arrived here the Dutch Government introduced a new

copper coinage of cents instead of doits (the 100th instead of

the 120th part of a guilder), and all the old coins were ordered

to be sent to Ternate to be changed. I sent a bag containing

6,000 doits, and duly received the new money by return of the

boat. Then Ali went to bring it, however, the captain required a

written order; so I waited to send again the next day, and it was

lucky I did so, for that night my house was entered, all my boxes

carried out and ransacked, and the various articles left on the

road about twenty yards off, where we found them at five in the

morning, when, on getting up and finding the house empty, we

rushed out to discover tracks of the thieves. Not being able to

find the copper money which they thought I had just received,

they decamped, taking nothing but a few yards of cotton cloth and

a black coat and trousers, which latter were picked up a few days

afterwards hidden in the grass. There was no doubt whatever who

were the thieves. Convicts are employed to guard the Government

stores when the boat arrives from Ternate. Two of them watch all

night, and often take the opportunity to roam about and commit


The next day I received my money, and secured it well in a strong

box fastened under my bed. I took out five or six hundred cents

for daily expenses, and put them in a small japanned box, which

always stood upon my table. In the afternoon I went for a short

walk, and on my return this box and my keys, which I had

carelessly left on the table, were gone. Two of my boys were in

the house, but had heard nothing. I immediately gave information

of the two robberies to the Director at the mines and to the

Commandant at the fort, and got for answer, that if I caught the

thief in the act I might shoot him. By inquiry in the village, we

afterwards found that one of the convicts who was on duty at the

Government rice-store in the village had quitted his guard, was

seen to pass over the bridge towards my house, was seen again

within two hundred yards of my house, and on returning over the

bridge into the village carried something under his arm,

carefully covered with his sarong. My box was stolen between the

hours he was seen going and returning, and it was so small as to

be easily carried in the way described. This seemed pretty clear

circumstantial evidence. I accused the man and brought the

witnesses to the Commandant. The man was examined, and confessed

having gone to the river close to my house to bathe; but said he

had gone no farther, having climbed up a cocoa-nut tree and

brought home two nuts, which he had covered over, _because he was

ashamed to be seen carrying them!_ This explanation was thought

satisfactory, and he was acquitted. I lost my cash and my box, a

seal I much valued, with other small articles, and all my keys-

the severest loss by far. Luckily my large cash-box was left

locked, but so were others which I required to open immediately.

There was, however, a very clever blacksmith employed to do

ironwork for the mines, and he picked my locks for me when I

required them, and in a few days made me new keys, which I used

all the time I was abroad.

Towards the end of November the wet season set in, and we had

daily and almost incessant rains, with only about one or two

hours' sunshine in the morning. The flat parts of the forest

became flooded, the roads filled with mud, and insects and birds

were scarcer than ever. On December Lath, in the afternoon, we

had a sharp earthquake shock, which made the house and furniture

shale and rattle for five minutes, and the trees and shrubs wave

as if a gust of wind had passed over them. About the middle of

December I removed to the village, in order more easily to

explore the district to the west of it, and to be near the sea

when I wished to return to Ternate. I obtained the use of a good-

sized house in the Campong Sirani (or Christian village), and at

Christmas and the New Year had to endure the incessant gun-

firing, drum-beating, and fiddling of the inhabitants.

These people are very fond of music and dancing, and it would

astonish a European to visit one of their assemblies. We enter a

gloomy palm-leaf hut, in which two or three very dim lamps barely

render darkness visible. The floor is of black sandy earth, the

roof hid in a smoky impenetrable blackness; two or three benches

stand against the walls, and the orchestra consists of a fiddle,

a fife, a drum, and a triangle. There is plenty of company,

consisting of young men and women, all very neatly dressed in

white and black--a true Portuguese habit. Quadrilles, waltzes,

polkas, and mazurkas are danced with great vigour and much skill.

The refreshments are muddy coffee and a few sweetmeats. Dancing

is kept up for hours, and all is conducted with much decorum and

propriety. A party of this kind meets about once a week, the

principal inhabitants taking it by turns, and all who please come

in without much ceremony.

It is astonishing how little these people have altered in three

hundred years, although in that time they have changed their

language and lost all knowledge of their own nationality. They

are still in manners and appearance almost pure Portuguese, very

similar to those with whom I had become acquainted on the banks

of the Amazon. They live very poorly as regards their house and

furniture, but preserve a semi-European dress, and have almost

all full suits of black for Sundays. They are nominally

Protestants, but Sunday evening is their grand day for music and

dancing. The men are often good hunters; and two or three times a

week, deer or wild pigs are brought to the village, which, with

fish and fowls, enables them to live well. They are almost the

only people in the Archipelago who eat the great fruit-eating

bats called by us "flying foxes." These ugly creatures are

considered a great delicacy, and are much sought after. At about

the beginning of the year they come in large flocks to eat fruit,

and congregate during the day on some small islands in the bay,

hanging by thousands on the trees, especially on dead ones. They

can then be easily caught or knocked down with sticks, and are

brought home by basketsfull. They require to be carefully

prepared, as the skin and fur has a rank end powerful foxy odour;

but they are generally cooked with abundance of spices and

condiments, and are really very good eating, something like hare.

The Orang Sirani are good cooks, having a much greater variety of

savoury dishes than the Malays. Here, they live chiefly on sago

as bread, with a little rice occasionally, and abundance of

vegetables and fruit.

It is a curious fact that everywhere in the Past where the

Portuguese have mixed with the native races they leave become

darker in colour than either of the parent stocks. This is the

case almost always with these "Orang Sirani" in the Moluccas, and

with the Portuguese of Malacca. The reverse is the case in South

America, where the mixture of the Portuguese or Brazilian with

the Indian produces the "Mameluco," who is not unfrequently

lighter than either parent, and always lighter than the Indian.

The women at Batchian, although generally fairer than the men,

are coarse in features, and very far inferior in beauty to the

mixed Dutch-Malay girls, or even to many pure Malays.

The part of the village in which I resided was a grove of cocoa-

nut trees, and at night, when the dead leaves were sometimes

collected together and burnt, the effect was most magnificent--

the tall stems, the fine crowns of foliage, and the immense

fruit-clusters, being brilliantly illuminated against a dark sky,

and appearing like a fairy palace supported on a hundred columns,

and groined over with leafy arches. The cocoa-nut tree, when well

grown, is certainly the prince of palms both for beauty and


During my very first walk into the forest at Batchian, I had seen

sitting on a leaf out of reach, an immense butterfly of a dark

colour marked with white and yellow spots. I could not capture it

as it flew away high up into the forest, but I at once saw that

it was a female of a new species of Ornithoptera or "bird-winged

butterfly," the pride of the Eastern tropics. I was very anxious

to get it and to find the male, which in this genus is always of

extreme beauty. During the two succeeding months I only saw it

once again, and shortly afterwards I saw the male flying high in

the air at the mining village. I had begun to despair of ever

getting a specimen, as it seemed so rare and wild; till one day,

about the beginning of January, I found a beautiful shrub with

large white leafy bracts and yellow flowers, a species of

Mussaenda, and saw one of these noble insects hovering over it,

but it was too quick for me, and flew away. The next clay I went

again to the same shrub and succeeded in catching a female, and

the day after a fine male. I found it to be as I had expected, a

perfectly new and most magnificent species, and one of the most

gorgeously coloured butterflies in the world. Fine specimens of

the male are more than seven inches across the wings, which are

velvety black and fiery orange, the latter colour replacing the

green of the allied species. The beauty and brilliancy of this

insect are indescribable, and none but a naturalist can

understand the intense excitement I experienced when I at length

captured it. On taking it out of my net and opening the glorious

wings, my heart began to beat violently, the blood rushed to my

head, and I felt much more like fainting than I have done when in

apprehension of immediate death. I had a headache the rest of the

day, so great was the excitement produced by what will appear to

most people a very inadequate cause.

I had decided to return to Ternate in a week or two more, but

this grand capture determined me to stay on till I obtained a

good series of the new butterfly, which I have since named

Ornithoptera croesus. The Mussaenda bush was an admirable place,

which I could visit every day on my way to the forest; and as it

was situated in a dense thicket of shrubs and creepers, I set my

man Lahi to clear a space all round it, so that I could easily

get at any insect that might visit it. Afterwards, finding that

it was often necessary to wait some time there, I had a little

seat put up under a tree by the side of it, where I came every

day to eat my lunch, and thus had half an hour's watching about

noon, besides a chance as I passed it in the morning. In this way

I obtained on an average one specimen a day for a long time, but

more than half of these were females, and more than half the

remainder worn or broken specimens, so that I should not have

obtained many perfect males had I not found another station for


As soon as I had seen them come to flowers, I sent my man Lahi

with a net on purpose to search for them, as they had also been

seen at some flowering trees on the beach, and I promised him

half a day's wages extra for every good specimen he could catch.

After a day or two he brought me two very fair specimens, and

told me he had caught them in the bed of a large rocky stream

that descends from the mountains to the sea abort a mile below

the village. They flew down this river, settling occasionally on

stones and rocks in the water, and he was obliged to wade up it

or jump from rock to rock to get at them. I went with him one

day, but found that the stream was far too rapid and the stones

too slippery for me to do anything, so I left it entirely to him,

and all the rest of the time we stayed in Batchian he used to be

out all day, generally bringing me one, and on good days two or

three specimens. I was thus able to bring away with me more than

a hundred of both sexes, including perhaps twenty very fine

males, though not more than five or six that were absolutely


My daily walk now led me, first about half a mile along the sandy

beach, then through a sago swamp over a causeway of very shaky

poles to the village of the Tomore people. Beyond this was the

forest with patches of new clearing, shady paths, and a

considerable quantity of felled timber. I found this a very fair

collecting ground, especially for beetles. The fallen trunks in

the clearings abounded with golden Buprestidae and curious

Brenthidae, and longicorns, while in the forest I found abundance

of the smaller Curculionidae, many longicorns, and some fine

green Carabidae.

Butterflies were not abundant, but I obtained a few more of the

fine blue Papilio, and a number of beautiful little Lycaenidae,

as well as a single specimen of the very rare Papilio Wallacei,

of which I had taken the hitherto unique specimen in the Aru


The most interesting birds I obtained here, were the beautiful

blue kingfisher, Todiramphus diops; the fine green and purple

doves, Ptilonopus superbus and P. iogaster, and several new birds

of small size. My shooters still brought me in specimens of the

Semioptera Wallacei, and I was greatly excited by the positive

statements of several of the native hunters that another species

of this bird existed, much handsomer and more remarkable. They

declared that the plumage was glossy black, with metallic green

breast as in my species, but that the white shoulder plumes were

twice as long, and hung down far below the body of the bird. They

declared that when hunting pigs or deer far in the forest they

occasionally saw this bird, but that it was rare. I immediately

offered twelve guilders (a pound) for a specimen; but all in

vain, and I am to this day uncertain whether such a bird exists.

Since I left, the German naturalist, Dr. Bernstein, stayed many

months in the island with a large staff of hunters collecting for

the Leyden Museum; and as he was not more successful than myself,

we must consider either that the bird is very rare, or is

altogether a myth.

Batchian is remarkable as being the most eastern point on the

globe inhabited by any of the Quadrumana. A large black baboon-

monkey (Cynopithecus nigrescens) is abundant in some parts of the

forest. This animal has bare red callosities, and a rudimentary

tail about an inch long--a mere fleshy tubercle, which may be

very easily overlooked. It is the same species that is found all

over the forests of Celebes, and as none of the other Mammalia of

that island extend into Batchian I am inclined to suppose that

this species has been accidentally introduced by the roaming

Malays, who often carry about with them tame monkeys and other

animals. This is rendered more probable by the fact that the

animal is not found in Gilolo, which is only separated from

Batchian by a very narrow strait. The introduction may have been

very recent, as in a fertile and unoccupied island such an animal

would multiply rapidly. The only other mammals obtained were an

Eastern opossum, which Dr. Gray has described as Cuscus ornatus;

the little flying opossum, Belideus ariel; a Civet cat, Viverra

zebetha; and nice species of bats, most of the smaller ones being

caught in the dusk with my butterfly net as they flew about

before the house.

After much delay, owing to bad weather and the illness of one of

my men, I determined to visit Kasserota (formerly the chief

village), situated up a small stream, on an island close to the

north coast of Batchian; where I was told that many rare birds

were found. After my boat was loaded and everything ready, three

days of heavy squalls prevented our starting, and it was not till

the 21st of March that we got away. Early next morning we entered

the little river, and in about an hour we reached the Sultan's

house, which I had obtained permission to use. It was situated on

the bank of the river, and surrounded by a forest of fruit trees,

among which were some of the very loftiest and most graceful

cocoa-nut palms I have ever seen. It rained nearly all that day,

and I could do little but unload and unpack. Towards the

afternoon it cleared up, and I attempted to explore in various

directions, but found to my disgust that the only path was a

perfect mud swamp, along which it was almost impossible to walk,

and the surrounding forest so damp and dark as to promise little

in the way of insects. I found too on inquiry that the people

here made no clearings, living entirely on sago, fruit, fish, and

game; and the path only led to- a steep rocky mountain equally

impracticable and unproductive. The next day I sent my men to

this hill, hoping it might produce some good birds; but they

returned with only two common species, and I myself had been able

to get nothing; every little track I had attempted to follow

leading to a dense sago swamp. I saw that I should waste time by

staying here, and determined to leave the following day.

This is one of those spots so hard for the European naturalist to

conceive, where with all the riches of a tropical vegetation, and

partly perhaps from the very luxuriance of that vegetation,

insects are as scarce as in the most barren parts of Europe, and

hardly more conspicuous. In temperate climates there is a

tolerable uniformity in the distribution of insects over those

parts of a country in which there is a similarity in the

vegetation, any deficiency being easily accounted for by the

absence of wood or uniformity of surface. The traveller hastily

passing through such a country can at once pick out a collecting

ground which will afford him a fair notion of its entomology.

Here the case is different. There are certain requisites of a

good collecting ground which can only be ascertained to exist by

some days' search in the vicinity of each village. In some places

there is no virgin forest, as at Djilolo and Sahoe; in others

there are no open pathways or clearings, as here. At Batchian

there are only two tolerable collecting places,--the road to the

coal mines, and the new clearings made by the Tomre people, the

latter being by far the most productive. I believe the fact to be

that insects are pretty uniformly distributed over these

countries (where the forests have not been cleared away), and are

so scarce in any one spot that searching for them is almost

useless. If the forest is all cleared away, almost all the

insects disappear with it; but when small clearings and paths are

made, the fallen trees in various stages of drying and decay, the

rotting leaves, the loosening bark and the fungoid growths upon

it, together with the flowers that appear in much greater

abundance where the light is admitted, are so many attractions to

the insects for miles around, and cause a wonderful accumulation

of species and individuals. When the entomologist can discover

such a spot, he does more in a mouth than he could possibly do by

a year's search in the depths of the undisturbed forest.

The next morning we left early, and reached the mouth of the

little river in about au hour. It flows through a perfectly flat

alluvial plain, but there are hills which approach it near the

mouth. Towards the lower part, in a swamp where the salt-water

must enter at high tides, were a number of elegant tree-ferns

from eight to fifteen feet high. These are generally considered

to be mountain plants, and rarely to occur on the equator at an

elevation of less than one or two thousand feet. In Borneo, in

the Aru Islands, and on the banks of the Amazon, I have observed

them at the level of the sea, and think it probable that the

altitude supposed to be requisite for them may have been deduced

from facts observed in countries where the plains and lowlands

are largely cultivated, and most of the indigenous vegetation

destroyed. Such is the case in most parts of Java, India,

Jamaica, and Brazil, where the vegetation of the tropics has been

most fully explored.

Coming out to sea we turned northwards, and in about two hours'

sail reached a few huts, called Langundi, where some Galela men

had established themselves as collectors of gum-dammar, with

which they made torches for the supply of the Ternate market.

About a hundred yards back rises a rather steep hill, and a short

walk having shown me that there was a tolerable path up it, I

determined to stay here for a few days. Opposite us, and all

along this coast of Batchian, stretches a row of fine islands

completely uninhabited. Whenever I asked the reason why no one

goes to live in them, the answer always was, "For fear of the

Magindano pirates." Every year these scourges of the Archipelago

wander in one direction or another, making their rendezvous on

some uninhabited island, and carrying devastation to all the

small settlements around; robbing, destroying, killing, or taking

captive all they nee with. Their long well-manned praus escape

from the pursuit of any sailing vessel by pulling away right in

the wind's eye, and the warning smoke of a steamer generally

enables them to hide in some shallow bay, or narrow river, or

forest-covered inlet, till the danger is passed. The only

effectual way to put a stop to their depredations would be to

attack them in their strongholds and villages, and compel them to

give up piracy, and submit to strict surveillance. Sir James

Brooke did this with the pirates of the north-west coast of

Borneo, and deserves the thanks of the whole population of the

Archipelago for having rid them of half their enemies.

All along the beach here, and in the adjacent strip of sandy

lowland, is a remarkable display of Pandanaceae or Screw-pines.

Some are like huge branching candelabra, forty or fifty feet

high, and bearing at the end of each branch a tuft of immense

sword-shaped leaves, six or eight inches wide, and as many feet

long. Others have a single unbranched stem, six or seven feet

high, the upper part clothed with the spirally arranged leaves,

and bearing a single terminal fruit ac large as a swan's egg.

Others of intermediate size have irregular clusters of rough red

fruits, and all have more or less spiny-edged leaves and ringed

stems. The young plants of the larger species have smooth glossy

thick leaves, sometimes ten feet long and eight inches wide,

which are used all over the Moluccas and New Guinea, to make

"cocoyas" or sleeping mats, which are often very prettily

ornamented with coloured patterns. Higher up on the bill is a

forest of immense trees, among which those producing the resin

called dammar (Dammara sp.) are abundant. The inhabitants of

several small villages in Batchian are entirely engaged in

searching for this product, and making it into torches by

pounding it and filling it into tubes of palm leaves about a yard

long, which are the only lights used by many of the natives.

Sometimes the dammar accumulates in large masses of ten or twenty

pounds weight, either attached to the trunk, or found buried in

the ground at the foot of the trees. The most extraordinary trees

of the forest are, however, a kind of fig, the aerial roots of

which form a pyramid near a hundred feet high, terminating just

where the tree branches out above, so that there is no real

trunk. This pyramid or cone is formed of roots of every size,

mostly descending in straight lines, but more or less obliquely-

and so crossing each other, and connected by cross branches,

which grow from one to another; as to form a dense and

complicated network, to which nothing but a photograph could do

justice (see illustration at Vol. I. page 130). The Kanary is

also abundant in this forest, the nut of which has a very

agreeable flavour, and produces an excellent oil. The fleshy

outer covering of the nut is the favourite food of the great

green pigeons of these islands (Carpophaga, perspicillata), and

their hoarse copings and heavy flutterings among the branches can

be almost continually heard.

After ten days at Langundi, finding it impossible to get the bird

I was particularly in search of (the Nicobar pigeon, or a new

species allied to it), and finding no new birds, and very few

insects, I left early on the morning of April 1st, and in the

evening entered a river on the main island of Batchian (Langundi,

like Kasserota, being on a distinct island), where some Malays

and Galela men have a small village, and have made extensive

rice-fields and plantain grounds. Here we found a good house near

the river bank, where the water was fresh and clear, and the

owner, a respectable Batchian Malay, offered me sleeping room and

the use of the verandah if I liked to stay. Seeing forest all

round within a short distance, I accepted his offer, and the next

morning before breakfast walked out to explore, and on the skirts

of the forest captured a few interesting insects.

Afterwards, I found a path which led for a mile or more through a

very fine forest, richer in palms than any I had seen in the

Moluccas. One of these especially attracted my attention from its

elegance. The stein was not thicker than my wrist, yet it was

very lofty, and bore clusters of bright red fruit. It was

apparently a species of Areca. Another of immense height closely

resembled in appearance the Euterpes of South America. Here also

grew the fan-leafed palm, whose small, nearly entire leaves are

used to make the dammar torches, and to form the water-buckets in

universal use. During this walk I saw near a dozen species of

palms, as well as two or three Pandani different from those of

Langundi. There were also some very fine climbing ferns and true

wild Plantains (Musa), bearing an edible fruit not so large as

one's thumb, and consisting of a mass of seeds just covered with

pulp and skin. The people assured me they had tried the

experiment of sowing and cultivating this species, but could not

improve it. They probably did not grow it in sufficient quantity,

and did not persevere sufficiently long.

Batchian is an island that would perhaps repay the researches of

a botanist better than any other in the whole Archipelago. It

contains a great variety of surface and of soil, abundance of

large and small streams, many of which are navigable for some

distance, and there being no savage inhabitants, every part of it

can be visited with perfect safety. It possesses gold, copper,

and coal, hot springs and geysers, sedimentary and volcanic rocks

and coralline limestone, alluvial plains, abrupt hills and lofty

mountains, a moist climate, and a grand and luxuriant forest


The few days I stayed here produced me several new insects, but

scarcely any birds. Butterflies and birds are in fact remarkably

scarce in these forests. One may walk a whole day and not see

more than two or three species of either. In everything but

beetles, these eastern islands are very deficient compared with

the western (Java, Borneo, &c.), and much more so if compared

with the forests of South America, where twenty or thirty species

of butterflies may be caught every day, and on very good days a

hundred, a number we can hardly reach here in months of

unremitting search. In birds there is the same difference. In

most parts of tropical America we may always find some species of

woodpecker tanager, bush shrike, chatterer, trogon, toucan,

cuckoo, and tyrant-flycatcher; and a few days' active search will

produce more variety than can be here met with in as many months.

Yet, along with this poverty of individuals and of species, there

are in almost every class and order, some one, or two species of

such extreme beauty or singularity, as to vie with, or even

surpass, anything that even South America can produce.

One afternoon when I was arranging my insects, and surrounded by

a crowd of wondering spectators, I showed one of them how to look

at a small insect with a hand-lens, which caused such evident

wonder that all the rest wanted to see it too. I therefore fixed

the glass firmly to a piece of soft wood at the proper focus, and

put under it a little spiny beetle of the genus Hispa, and then

passed it round for examination. The excitement was immense. Some

declared it was a yard long; others were frightened, and

instantly dropped it, and all were as much astonished, and made

as much shouting and gesticulation, as children at a pantomime,

or at a Christmas exhibition of the oxyhydrogen microscope. And

all this excitement was produced by a little pocket lens, an inch

and a half focus, and therefore magnifying only four or five

times, but which to their unaccustomed eyes appeared to enlarge a

hundred fold.

On the last day of my stay here, one of my hunters succeeded in

finding and shooting the beautiful Nicobar pigeon, of which I had

been so long in search. None of the residents had ever seen it,

which shows that it is rare and slay. My specimen was a female in

beautiful condition, and the glassy coppery and green of its

plumage, the snow-white tail and beautiful pendent feathers of

the neck, were greatly admired. I subsequently obtained a

specimen in New Guinea; and once saw it in the Kaia islands. It

is found also in some small islands near Macassar, in others near

Borneo; and in the Nicobar islands, whence it receives its name.

It is a ground feeder, only going upon trees to roost, and is a

very heavy fleshy bird. This may account far the fact of its

being found chiefly on very small islands, while in the western

half of the Archipelago, it seems entirely absent from the larger

ones. Being a ground feeder it is subject to the attacks of

carnivorous quadrupeds, which are not found in the very small

islands. Its wide distribution over the whole length of the

Archipelago; from extreme west to east, is however very

extraordinary, since, with the exception of a few of the birds of

prey, not a single land bird has so wide a range. Ground-feeding

birds are generally deficient in power of extended flight, and

this species is so bulky and heavy that it appears at first sight

quite unable to fly a mile. A closer examination shows, however,

that its wings are remarkably large, perhaps in proportion to its

size larger than those of any other pigeon, and its pectoral

muscles are immense. A fact communicated to me by the son of my

friend Mr. Duivenboden of Ternate, would show that, in accordance

with these peculiarities of structure, it possesses the power of

flying long distances. Mr. D. established an oil factory on a

small coral island, a hundred miles north of New Guinea, with no

intervening land. After the island had been settled a year, and

traversed in every direction, his son paid it a visit; and just

as the schooner was coming to an anchor, a bird was seen flying

from seaward which fell into the water exhausted before it could

reach the shore. A boat was sent to pick it up, and it was found

to be a Nicobar pigeon, which must have come from New Guinea, and

flown a hundred miles, since no such bird previously inhabited

the island.

This is certainly a very curious case of adaptation to an unusual

and exceptional necessity. The bird does not ordinarily require

great powers of flight, since it lives in the forest, feeds on

fallen fruits, and roosts in low trees like other ground pigeons.

The majority of the individuals, therefore, can never make full

use of their enormously powerful wings, till the exceptional case

occurs of an individual being blown out to sea, or driven to

emigrate by the incursion of some carnivorous animal, or the

pressure of scarcity of food. A modification exactly opposite to

that which produced the wingless birds (the Apteryx, Cassowary,

and Dodo), appears to have here taken place; and it is curious

that in both cases an insular habitat should have been the moving

cause. The explanation is probably the same as that applied by

Mr. Darwin to the case of the Madeira beetles, many of which are

wingless, while some of the winged ones have the wings better

developed than the same species on the continent. It was

advantageous to these insects either never to fly at all, and

thus not run the risk of being blown out to sea, or to fly so

well as to he able either to return to land, or to migrate safely

to the continent. Pad flying was worse than not flying at all.

So, while in such islands as New Zealand and Mauritius far from

all land, it vas safer for a ground-feeding bird not to fly at

all, and the short-winged individuals continually surviving,

prepared the way for a wingless group of birds; in a vast

Archipelago thickly strewn with islands and islets it was

advantageous to be able occasionally to migrate, arid thus the

long and strong-winged varieties maintained their existence

longest, and ultimately supplanted all others, and spread the

race over the whole Archipelago.

Besides this pigeon, the only new bird I obtained during the trip

was a rare goat-sucker (Batrachostomus crinifrons), the only

species of the genus yet found in the Moluccas. Among my insects

the best were the rare Pieris arum, of a rich chrome yellow

colour, with a black border and remarkable white antenna--perhaps

the very finest butterfly of the genus; and a large black wasp-

like insect, with immense jaws like a stag-beetle, which has been

named Megachile Pluto by Mr. B. Smith. I collected about a

hundred species of beetles quite new to me, but mostly very

minute, and also many rare and handsome ones which I had already

found in Batchian. On the whole I was tolerably satisfied with my

seventeen days' excursion, which was a very agreeable one, and

enabled me to sea a good deal of the island. I had hired a roomy

boat, and brought with me a small table and my rattan chair.

These were great comforts, as, wherever there was a roof, I could

immediately instal myself, and work and eat at ease. When I could

not find accommodation on shore I slept in the boat, which was

always drawn up on the beach if we stayed for a few days at one


On my return to Batchian I packed up my collections, and prepared

for my return to Ternate. When I first came I had sent back my

boat by the pilot, with two or three other men who had been glad

of the opportunity. I now took advantage of a Government boat

which had just arrived with rice for the troops, and obtained

permission to return in her, and accordingly started on the 13th

of April, having resided only a week short of six months on the

island of Batchian. The boat was one of the kind called "Kora-

kora," quite open, very low, and about four tons burthen. It had

outriggers of bamboo about five feet off each side, which

supported a bamboo platform extending the whole length of the

vessel. On the extreme outside of this sit the twenty rowers,

while within was a convenient passage fore and aft. The middle

portion of the boat was covered with a thatch-house, in which

baggage and passengers are stowed; the gunwale was not more than

a foot above water, and from the great top and side weight, and

general clumsiness, these boats are dangerous in heavy weather,

and are not unfrequently lost. A triangle mast and mat sail

carried us on when the wind was favourable,--which (as usual) it

never was, although, according to the monsoon, it ought to have

been. Our water, carried in bamboos, would only last two days,

and as the voyage occupied seven, we had to touch at a great many

places. The captain was not very energetic, and the men rowed as

little as they pleased, or we might have reached Ternate in three

days, having had fine weather and little wind all the way.

There were several passengers besides myself: three or four

Javanese soldiers, two convicts whose time had expired (one,

curiously enough, being the man who had stolen my cash-box and

keys), the schoolmaster's wife and a servant going on a visit to

Ternate, and a Chinese trader going to buy goods. We had to sleep

all together in the cabin, packed pretty close; but they very

civilly allowed me plenty of room for my mattrass, and we got on

very well together. There was a little cookhouse in the bows,

where we could boil our rice and make our coffee, every one of

course bringing his own provisions, and arranging his meal-times

as he found most convenient. The passage would have been

agreeable enough but for the dreadful "tom-toms," or wooden

drums, which are beaten incessantly while the men are rowing. Two

men were engaged constantly at them, making a fearful din the

whole voyage. The rowers are men sent by the Sultan of Ternate.

They get about threepence a day, and find their own provisions.

Each man had a strong wooden "betel" box, on which he generally

sat, a sleeping-mat, and a change of clothes--rowing naked, with

only a sarong or a waistcloth. They sleep in their places,

covered with their mat, which keeps out the rain pretty well.

They chew betel or smoke cigarettes incessantly; eat dry sago and

a little salt fish; seldom sing while rowing, except when excited

and wanting to reach a stopping-place, and do not talk a great

deal. They are mostly Malays, with a sprinkling of Alfuros from

Gilolo, and Papuans from Guebe or Waigiou.

One afternoon we stayed at Makian; many of the men went on shore,

and a great deal of plantains, bananas, and other fruits were

brought on board. We then went on a little way, and in the

evening anchored again. When going to bed for the night, I put

out my candle, there being still a glimmering lamp burning, and,

missing my handkerchief, thought I saw it on a box which formed

one side of my bed, and put out my hand to take it. I quickly

drew back on feeling something cool and very smooth, which moved

as I touched it. "Bring the light, quick," I cried; "here's a

snake." And there he was, sure enough, nicely coiled up, with his

head just raised to inquire who had disturbed him. It was mow

necessary to catch or kill him neatly, or he would escape among

the piles of miscellaneous luggage, and we should hardly sleep

comfortably. One of the ex-convicts volunteered to catch him with

his hand wrapped up in a cloth, but from the way he went about it

I saw he was nervous and would let the thing go, so I would mot

allow him to make the attempt. I them got a chopping-knife, and

carefully moving my insect nets, which hung just over the snake

and prevented me getting a free blow, I cut him quietly across

the back, holding him down while my boy with another knife

crushed his head. On examination, I found he had large poison

fangs, and it is a wonder he did not bite me when I first touched


Thinking it very unlikely that two snakes had got on board at the

same time, I turned in and went to sleep; but having all the time

a vague dreamy idea that I might put my hand on another one, I

lay wonderfully still, not turning over once all night, quite the

reverse of my usual habits. The next day we reached Ternate, and

I ensconced myself in my comfortable house, to examine all my

treasures, and pack them securely for the voyage home.



(OCTOBER 1859 To JUNE 1860.)

I LEFT Amboyna for my first visit to Ceram at three o'clock in

the morning of October 29th, after having been delayed several

days by the boat's crew, who could not be got together. Captain

Van der Beck, who gave me a passage in his boat, had been running

after them all day, and at midnight we had to search for two of

my men who had disappeared at the last moment. One we found at

supper in his own house, and rather tipsy with his parting

libations of arrack, but the other was gone across the bay, and

we were obliged to leave without him. We stayed some hours at two

villages near the east end of Amboyna, at one of which we had to

discharge some wood for the missionaries' house, and on the third

afternoon reached Captain Van der Beck's plantation, situated at

Hatosua, in that part of Ceram opposite to the island of Amboyna.

This was a clearing in flat and rather swampy forest, about

twenty acres in extent, and mostly planted with cacao and

tobacco. Besides a small cottage occupied by the workmen, there

was a large shed for tobacco drying, a corner of which was

offered me; and thinking from the look of the place that I should

find- good collecting ground here, I fitted up temporary tables,

benches, and beds, and made all preparations for some weeks'

stay. A few days, however, served to show that I should be

disappointed. Beetles were tolerably abundant, and I obtained

plenty of fine long-horned Anthribidae and pretty Longicorns, but

they were mostly the same species as I had found during my first

short visit to Amboyna. There were very few paths in the forest;

which seemed poor in birds and butterflies, and day after day my

men brought me nothing worth notice. I was therefore soon obliged

to think about changing my locality, as I could evidently obtain

no proper notion of the productions of the almost entirely

unexplored island of Ceram by staying in this place.

I rather regretted leaving, because my host was one of the most

remarkable men and most entertaining companions I had ever met

with. He was a Fleeting by birth, and, like so many of his

countrymen, had a wonderful talent for languages. When quite a

youth he had accompanied a Government official who was sent to

report on the trade and commerce of the Mediterranean, and had

acquired the colloquial language of every place they stayed a few

weeks at. He had afterwards made voyages to St. Petersburg, and

to other parts of Europe, including a few weeks in London, and

had then come out to the past, where he had been for some years

trading and speculating in the various islands. He now spoke

Dutch, French, Malay, and Javanese, all equally well; English

with a very slight accent, but with perfect fluency, axed a most

complete knowledge of idiom, in which I often tried to puzzle him

in vain. German and Italian were also quite familiar to him, and

his acquaintance with European languages included Modern Greek,

Turkish, Russian, and colloquial Hebrew and Latin. As a test of

his power, I may mention that he had made a voyage to the out-of-

the-way island of Salibaboo, and had stayed there trading a few

weeks. As I was collecting vocabularies, he told me he thought he

could remember some words, and dictated considerable number. Some

time after I met with a short list of words taken down in those

islands, and in every case they agreed with those he had given

me. He used to sing a Hebrew drinking-song, which he had learned

from some Jews with whom he had once travelled, and astonished by

joining in their conversation, and had a never-ending fund of

tale and anecdote about the people he had met and the places he

had visited.

In most of the villages of this part of Ceram are schools and

native schoolmasters, and the inhabitants have been long

converted to Christianity. In the larger villages there are

European missionaries; but there is little or no external

difference between the Christian and Alfuro villages, nor, as far

as I have seen, in their inhabitants. The people seem more

decidedly Papuan than those of Gilolo. They are darker in colour,

and a number of them have the frizzly Papuan hair; their features

also are harsh and prominent, and the women in particular are far

less engaging than those of the Malay race. Captain Van der Beck

was never tired of abusing the inhabitants of these Christian

villages as thieves, liars, and drunkards, besides being

incorrigibly lazy. In the city of Amboyna my friends Doctors

Mohnike and Doleschall, as well as most of the European residents

and traders, made exactly the same complaint, and would rather

have Mahometans for servants, even if convicts, than any of the

native Christians. One great cause of this is the fact, that with

the Mahometans temperance is a part of their religion, and has

become so much a habit that practically the rule is never

transgressed. One fertile source of want, arid one great

incentive to idleness and crime, is thus present with the one

class, but absent in the other; but besides this the Christians

look upon themselves as nearly the equals of the Europeans, who

profess the same religion, and as far superior to the followers

of Islam, and are therefore prone to despise work, and to

endeavour to live by trade, or by cultivating their own land. It

need hardly be said that with people in this low state of

civilization religion is almost wholly ceremonial, and that

neither are the doctrines of Christianity comprehended, nor its

moral precepts obeyed. At the same time, as far as my own

experience goes, I have found the better class of "Orang Sirani"

as civil, obliging, and industrious as the Malays, and only

inferior to them from their tendency to get intoxicated.

Having written to the Assistant Resident of Saparua (who has

jurisdiction over the opposite part of the coast of Ceram) for a

boat to pursue my journey, I received one rather larger than

necessary with a crew of twenty men. I therefore bade adieu to my

kind friend Captain Van der Beck, and left on the evening after

its arrival for the village of Elpiputi, which we reached in two

days. I had intended to stay here, but not liking the appearance

of the place, which seemed to have no virgin forest near it, I

determined to proceed about twelve miles further up the bay of

Amahay, to a village recently formed, and inhabited by indigenes

from the interior, and where some extensive cacao plantations

were being made by some gentlemen of Amboyna. I reached the place

(called Awaiya) the same afternoon, and with the assistance of

Mr. Peters (the manager of the plantations) and the native chief,

obtained a small house, got all my things on shore, and paid and

discharged my twenty boatmen, two of whom had almost driven me to

distraction by beating tom-toms the whole voyage.

I found the people here very nearly in a state of nature, and

going almost naked. The men wear their frizzly hair gathered into

a flat circular knot over the left temple, which has a very

knowing look, and in their ears cylinders of wood as thick as

one's finger, and coloured red at the ends. Armlets and anklets

of woven grass or of silver, with necklaces of beads or of small

fruits, complete their attire. The women wear similar ornaments,

but have their hair loose. All are tall, with a dark brown skin,

and well marked Papuan physiognomy. There is an Amboyna

schoolmaster in the village, and a good number of children attend

school every morning. Such of the inhabitants as have become

Christians may be known by their wearing their hair loose, and

adopting to some extent the native Christian dress-trousers and a

loose shirt. Very few speak Malay, all these coast villages

having been recently formed by inducing natives to leave the

inaccessible interior. In all the central part of Ceram there new

remains only one populous village in the mountains. Towards the

east and the extreme west are a few others, with which exceptions

all the inhabitants of Ceram are collected on the coast. In the

northern and eastern districts they are mostly Mahometans, while

on the southwest coast, nearest Amboyna, they are nominal

Christians. In all this part of the Archipelago the Dutch make

very praiseworthy efforts to improve the condition of the

aborigines by establishing schoolmasters in every village (who

are mostly natives of Amboyna or Saparua, who have; been

instructed by the resident missionaries), and by employing native

vaccinators to prevent the ravages of smallpox. They also

encourage the settlement of Europeans, and the formation of new

plantations of cacao and coffee, one of the best means of raising

the condition of the natives, who thus obtain work at fair wages,

and have the opportunity of acquiring something of European

tastes and habits.

My collections here did not progress much better than at my

former station, except that butterflies were a little more

plentiful, and some very fine species were to be found in the

morning on the sea-beach, sitting so quietly on the wet sand that

they could be caught with the fingers. In this way I had many

fine specimens of Papilios brought me by the children. Beetles,

however, were scarce, and birds still more so, and I began to

think that the handsome species which I had so often heard were

found in Ceram must be entirely confined to the eastern extremity

of the island.

A few miles further worth, at the head of the Bay of Amahay, is

situated the village of Makariki, from whence there is a native

path quite across the island to the north coast. My friend Mr.

Rosenberg, whose acquaintance I had made at New Guinea, and who

was now the Government superintendent of all this part of Ceram,

returned from Wahai, on the north coast, after I had been three

weeks at Awaiya, and showed me some fine butterflies he had

obtained on the mountain streams in the interior. He indicated a

spot about the centre of the island where he thought I might

advantageously stay a few days. I accordingly visited Makariki

with him the next day, and he instructed the chief of the village

to furnish me with men to carry my baggage, and accompany me on

my excursion. As the people of the village wanted to be at home

on Christmas-day, it was necessary to start as soon as possible;

so we agreed that the men should be ready in two days, and I

returned to make my arrangements.

I put up the smallest quantity of baggage possible for a six

days' trip, and on the morning of December 18th we left Makariki,

with six men carrying my baggage and their own provisions, and a

lad from Awaiya, who was accustomed to catch butterflies for me.

My two Amboyna hunters I left behind to shoot and skin what birds

they could while I was away. Quitting the village, we first

walked briskly for an hour through a dense tangled undergrowth,

dripping wet from a storm of the previous night, and full of mud

holes. After crossing several small streams we reached one of the

largest rivers in Ceram, called Ruatan, which it was necessary to

cross. It was both deep and rapid. The baggage was first taken

over, parcel by parcel, on the men's heads, the water reaching

nearly up to their armpits, and then two men returned to assist

me. The water was above my waist, and so strong that I should

certainly have been carried off my feet had I attempted to cross

alone; and it was a matter of astonishment to me how the men

could give me any assistance, since I found the greatest

difficulty in getting my foot down again when I had once moved it

off the bottom. The greater strength and grasping power of their

feet, from going always barefoot, no doubt gave them a surer

footing in the rapid water.

After well wringing out our wet clothes and putting them on, we

again proceeded along a similar narrow forest track as before,

choked with rotten leaves and dead trees, and in the more open

parts overgrown with tangled vegetation. Another hour brought us

to a smaller stream flowing in a wide gravelly bed, up which our

road lay. Here w e stayed half an hour to breakfast, and then

went on, continually crossing the stream, or walking on its stony

and gravelly banks, till about noon, when it became rocky and

enclosed by low hills. A little further we entered a regular

mountain-gorge, and had to clamber over rocks, and every moment

cross and recross the water, or take short cuts through the

forest. This was fatiguing work; and about three in the

afternoon, the sky being overcast, and thunder in the mountains

indicating an approaching storm, we had to loon out for a camping

place, and soon after reached one of Mr. Rosenberg's old ones.

The skeleton of his little sleeping-hut remained, and my men cut

leaves and made a hasty roof just as the rain commenced. The

baggage was covered over with leaves, and the men sheltered

themselves as they could till the storm was over, by which time a

flood came down the river, which effectually stopped our further

march, even had we wished to proceed. We then lighted fires; I

made some coffee, and my men roasted their fish and plantains,

and as soon as it was dark, we made ourselves comfortable for the


Starting at six the next morning, we had three hours of the same

kind of walking, during which we crossed the river at least

thirty or forty times, the water being generally knee-deep. This

brought us to a place where the road left the stream, and here we

stopped to breakfast. We then had a long walk over the mountain,

by a tolerable path, which reached an elevation of about fifteen

hundred feet above the sea. Here I noticed one of the smallest

and most elegant tree ferns I had ever seen, the stem being

scarcely thicker than my thumb, yet reaching a height of fifteen

or twenty feet. I also caught a new butterfly of the genus

Pieris, and a magnificent female specimen of Papilio gambrisius,

of which I had hitherto only found the males, which are smaller

and very different in colour. Descending the other side of the

ridge, by a very steep path, we reached another river at a spot

which is about the centre of the island, and which was to be our

resting place for two or three days. In a couple of hour my men

had built a little sleeping-shed for me, about eight feet by

four, with a bench of split poles, they themselves occupying two

or three smaller ones, which had been put up by former


The river here was about twenty yards wide, running over a pebbly

and sometimes a rocky bed, and bordered by steep hills with

occasionally flat swampy spots between their base and the stream.

The whole country was one dense, Unbroken, and very damp and

gloomy virgin forest. Just at our resting-place there was a

little bush-covered island in the middle of the channel, so that

the opening in the forest made by the river was wider than usual,

and allowed a few gleams of sunshine to penetrate. Here there

were several handsome butterflies flying about, the finest of

which, however, escaped me, and I never saw it again during my

stay. In the two days and a half which we remained here, I

wandered almost all day up and down the stream, searching after

butterflies, of which I got, in all, fifty or sixty specimens,

with several species quite new to me. There were many others

which I saw only once, and did not capture, causing me to regret

that there was no village in these interior valleys where I could

stay a month. In the early part of each morning I went out with

my gun in search of birds, and two of my men were out almost all

day after deer; but we were all equally unsuccessful, getting

absolutely nothing the whole time we were in the forest. The only

good bird seen was the fine Amboyna lory, but these were always

too high to shoot; besides this, the great Moluccan hornbill,

which I did not want, was almost the only bird met with. I saw

not a single ground-thrush, or kingfisher, or pigeon; and, in

fact, have never been in a forest so utterly desert of animal

life as this appeared to be. Even in all other groups of insects,

except butterflies, there was the same poverty. I bad hoped to

find some rare tiger beetles, as I had done in similar situations

in Celebes; but, though I searched closely in forest, river-bed,

and mountain-brook, I could find nothing but the two common

Amboyna species. Other beetles there were absolutely none.

The constant walking in water, and over rocks and pebbles, quite

destroyed the two pair of shoes I brought with me, so that, on my

return, they actually fell to pieces, and the last day I had to

walk in my stockings very painfully, and reached home quite lame.

On our way back from Makariki, as on our way there, we had storm

and rain at sea, and we arrived at Awaiya late in the evening,

with all our baggage drenched, and ourselves thoroughly

uncomfortable. All the time I had been in Ceram I had suffered

much from the irritating bites of an invisible acarus, which is

worse than mosquitoes, ants, and every other pest, because it is

impossible to guard against them. This last journey in the forest

left me covered from head to foot with inflamed lumps, which,

after my return to Amboyna, produced a serious disease, confining

me to the house for nearly two months, a not very pleasant

memento of my first visit to Ceram, which terminated with the

year 1859.

It was not till the 24th of February, 1860, that I started again,

intending to pass from village to village along the coast,

staying where I found a suitable locality. I had a letter from

the Governor of the Moluccas, requesting all the chiefs to supply

me with boats and men to carry me on my journey. The first boat

took me in two days to Amahay, on the opposite side of the bay to

Awaiya. The chief here, wonderful to relate, did not make any

excuses for delay, but immediately ordered out the boat which was

to carry me on, put my baggage on hoard, set up mast and sails

after dark, and had the men ready that nigh; so that we were

actually on our way at five the next morning,--a display of

energy and activity I scarcely ever saw before in a native chief

on such an occasion. We touched at Cepa, and stayed for the night

at Tamilan, the first two Mahometan villages on the south coast

of Ceram. The next day, about noon, we reached Hoya, which was as

Far as my present boat and crew were going to take me. The

anchorage is about a mile east of the village, which is faced by

coral reefs, and we had to wait for the evening tide to move up

and unload the boat into the strange rotten wooden pavilion kept

for visitors.

There was no boat here large enough to take my baggage; and

although two would have done very well, the Rajah insisted upon

sending four. The reason of this I found was, that there were

four small villages under his rule, and by sending a boat from

each he would avoid the difficult task of choosing two and

letting off the others. I was told that at the next village of

Teluti there were plenty of Alfuros, and that I could get

abundance of Tories and other birds. The Rajah declared that

black and yellow Tories and black cockatoos were found there; but

I am inclined to think he knew very well he was telling me lies,

and that it was only a scheme to satisfy me with his plan of

taking me to that village, instead of a day's journey further on,

as I desired. Here, as at most of the villages, I was asked for

spirits, the people being mere nominal Mahometans, who confine

their religion almost entirely to a disgust at pork, and a few

other forbidden articles of food. The next morning, after much

trouble, we got our cargoes loaded, and had a delightful row

across the deep bay of Teluti, with a view of the grand central

mountain-range of Ceram. Our four boats were rowed by sixty men,

with flags flying and tom-toms beating, as well as very vigorous

shouting and singing to keep up their spirits. The sea way

smooth, the morning bright, and the whole scene very

exhilarating. On landing, the Orang-kaya and several of the chief

men, in gorgeous silk jackets, were waiting to receive us, and

conducted me to a house prepared for my reception, where I

determined to stay a few days, and see if the country round

produced anything new.

My first inquiries were about the lories, but I could get very

little satisfactory information. The only kinds known were the

ring-necked lory and the common red and green lorikeet, both

common at Amboyna. Black Tories and cockatoos were quite unknown.

The Alfuros resided in the mountains five or six days' journey

away, and there were only one or two live birds to be found in

the village, and these were worthless. My hunters could get

nothing but a few common birds; and notwithstanding fine

mountains, luxuriant forests, and a locality a hundred miles

eastward, I could find no new insects, and extremely few even of

the common species of Amboyna and West Ceram. It was evidently no

use stopping at such a place, and I was determined to move on as

soon as possible.

The village of Teluti is populous, but straggling and very dirty.

Sago trees here cover the mountain side, instead of growing as

usual in low swamps; but a closer examination shows that they

grow in swampy patches, which have formed among the loose rocks

that cover the ground, and which are kept constantly full of

moisture by the rains, and by the abundance of rills which

trickle down among them. This sago forms almost the whole

subsistence of the inhabitants, who appear to cultivate nothing

but a few small patches of maize and sweet potatoes. Hence, as

before explained, the scarcity of insects. The Orang-kaya has

fine clothes, handsome lamps, and other expensive European goods,

yet lives every day on sago and fish as miserably as the rest.

After three days in this barren place I left on the morning of

March 6th, in two boats of the same size as those which had

brought me to Teluti. With some difficulty I had obtained

permission to take these boats on to Tobo, where I intended to

stay a while, and therefore got on pretty quickly, changing men

at the village of Laiemu, and arriving in a heavy rain at

Ahtiago. As there was a good deal of surf here, and likely to be

more if the wind blew hard during the night, our boats were

pulled up on the beach; and after supping at the Orang-kaya's

house, and writing down a vocabulary of the language of the

Alfuros, who live in the mountains inland, I returned to sleep in

the boat. Next morning we proceeded, changing men at Warenama,

and again at Hatometen, at both of which places there was much

surf and no harbour, so that the men had to go on shore and come

on board by swimming. Arriving in the evening of March 7th at

Batuassa, the first village belonging to the Rajah of Tobo, and

under the government of Banda, the surf was very heavy, owing to

a strong westward swell. We therefore rounded the rocky point on

which the village was situated, but found it very little better

on the other side. We were obliged, however, to go on shore here;

and waiting till the people on the beach had made preparations,

by placing a row of logs from the water's edge on which to pull

up our boats, we rowed as quickly as we could straight on to

them, after watching till the heaviest surfs had passed. The

moment we touched ground our men all jumped out, and, assisted by

those on shore, attempted to haul up the boat high and dry, but

not having sufficient hands, the surf repeatedly broke into the

stern. The steepness of the beach, however, prevented any damage

being done, and the other boat having both crews to haul at it,

was got up without difficulty.

The next morning, the water being low, the breakers were at some

distance from shore, and we had to watch for a smooth moment

after bringing the boats to the water's edge, and so got safely

out to sea. At the two next villages, Tobo and Ossong, we also

took in fresh men, who came swimming through the surf; and at the

latter place the Rajah came on board and accompanied me to

Kissalaut, where he has a house which he lent me during my stay.

Here again was a heavy surf, and it was with great difficulty we

got the boats safely hauled up. At Amboyna I had been promised at

this season a calm sea and the wind off shore, but in this case,

as in every other, I had been unable to obtain any reliable

information as to the winds and seasons of places distant two or

three days' journey. It appears, however, that owing to the

general direction of the island of Ceram (E.S.E. and W.N.W.),

there is a heavy surf and scarcely any shelter on the south coast

during the west monsoon, when alone a journey to the eastward can

be safely made; while during the east monsoon, when I proposed to

return along the north coast to Wahai, I should probably find

that equally exposed and dangerous. But although the general

direction of the west monsoon in the Banda sea causes a heavy

swell, with bad surf on the coast, yet we had little advantage of

the wind; for, owing I suppose to the numerous bays and

headlands, we had contrary south-east or even due east winds all

the way, and had to make almost the whole distance from Amboyna

by force of rowing. We had therefore all the disadvantages, and

none of the advantages, of this west monsoon, which I was told

would insure me a quick and pleasant journey.

I was delayed at Kissa-laut just four weeks, although after the

first three days I saw that it would be quite useless for me to

stay, and begged the Rajah to give me a prau and men to carry me

on to Goram. But instead of getting one close at hand, he

insisted on sending several miles off; and when after many delays

it at length arrived, it was altogether unsuitable and too small

to carry my baggage. Another was then ordered to be brought

immediately, and was promised in three days, but doable that time

elapsed and none appeared, and we were obliged at length to get

one at the adjoining village, where it might have been so much

more easily obtained at first. Then came caulking and covering

over, and quarrels between the owner and the Rajah's men, which

occupied more than another ten days, during all which time I was

getting absolutely nothing, finding this part of Ceram a perfect

desert in zoology. although a most beautiful country, and with a

very luxuriant vegetation. It was a complete puzzle, which to

this day I have not been able to understand; the only thing I

obtained worth notice during my month's stay here being a few

good land shells.

At length, on April 4th, we succeeded in getting away in our

little boat of about four tons burthen, in which my numerous

boxes were with difficulty packed so as to leave sleeping and

cooling room. The craft could not boast an ounce of iron or a

foot of rope in any part of its construction, nor a morsel of

pitch or paint in its decoration. The planks were fastened

together in the usual  ingenious way with pegs and rattans. The

mast was a bamboo triangle, requiring no shrouds, and carrying a

long mat sail; two rudders were hung on the quarters by rattans,

the anchor was of wood, and a long and thick rattan; served as a

cable. Our crew consisted of four men, whose pole accommodation

was about three feet by four in the bows and stern, with the

sloping thatch roof to stretch themselves upon for a change. We

had nearly a hundred miles to go, fully exposed to the swell of

the Banda sea, which is sometimes very considerable; but we

luckily had it calm and smooth, so that we made the voyage in

comparative comfort.

On the second day we passed the eastern extremity of Ceram,

formed of a group of hummocky limestone hills; and, sailing by

the islands of Kwammer and Keffing, both thickly inhabited, came

in sight of the little town of Kilwaru, which appears to rise out

of the sea like a rustic Venice. This place has really a most

extraordinary appearance, as not a particle of land or vegetation

can be seen, but a long way out at sea a large village seems to

float upon the water. There is of course a small island of

several acres in extent; but the houses are built so closely all

round it upon piles in the water, that it is completely hidden.

It is a place of great traffic, being the emporium for much of

the produce of these Eastern seas, and is the residence of many

Bugis and Ceramese traders, and appears to have been chosen on

account of its being close to the only deep channel between the

extensive shoals of Ceram-laut and those bordering the east end

of Ceram. We now had contrary east winds, and were obliged to

pole over the shallow coral reefs of Ceram-laut for nearly thirty

miles. The only danger of our voyage was just at its termination,

for as we were rowing towards Manowolko, the largest of the Goram

group, we were carried out so rapidly by a strong westerly

current, that I was almost certain at one time we should pass

clear of the island; in which case our situation would have been

both disagreeable and dangerous, as, with the east wind which had

just set in, we might have been unable to return for many days,

and we had not a day's water on board. At the critical moment I

served out some strong spirits to my men, which put fresh vigour

into their arms, and carried us out of the influence of the

current before it was too late.


On arriving at Manowolko, we found the Rajah was at the opposite

island of Goram; but he was immediately sent for, and in the

meantime a large shed was given for our accommodation. At night

the Rajah came, and the next day I had a visit from him, and

found, as I expected, that I had already made his acquaintance

three years before at Aru. He was very friendly, and we had a

long talk; but when I begged for a boat and men to take me on to

Ke, he made a host of difficulties. There were no praus, as all

had gone to Ke or Aim; and even if one were found, there were no

men, as it was the season when all were away trading. But he

promised to see about it, and I was obliged to wait. For the next

two or three days there was more talking and more difficulties

were raised, and I had time to make an examination of the island

and the people.

Manowolko is about fifteen miles long, and is a mere; upraised

coral-reef. Two or three hundred yards inland rise cliffs of

coral rock, in many parts perpendicular, and one or two hundred

feet high; and this, I was informed, is characteristic of the

whole island, in which there is no other kind of rock, and no

stream of water. A few cracks and chasms furnish paths to the top

of these cliffs, where there is an open undulating country, in

which the chief vegetable grounds of the inhabitants are


The people here--at least the chief men--were of a much purer

Malay race than the Mahometans of the mainland of Ceram, which is

perhaps due to there having been no indigenes on these small

islands when the first settlers arrived. In Ceram, the Alfuros of

Papuan race are the predominant type, the Malay physiognomy being

seldom well marked; whereas here the reverse is the case, and a

slight infusion of Papuan on a mixture of Malay and Bugis has

produced a very good-looking set of people. The lower class of

the population consist almost entirely of the indigenes of the

adjacent island. They are a fine race, with strongly-marked

Papuan features, frizzly hair, and brown complexions. The Goram

language is spoken also at the east end of Ceram, and in the

adjacent islands. It has a general resemblance to the languages

of Ceram, but possesses a peculiar element which I have not met

with in other languages of the Archipelago.

After great delay, considering the importance of every day at

this time of year, a miserable boat and five men were found, and

with some difficulty I stowed away in it such baggage as it was

absolutely necessary for me to take, leaving scarcely sitting or

sleeping room. The sailing qualities of the boat were highly

vaunted, and I was assured that at this season a small one was

much more likely to succeed in making the journey. We first

coasted along the island, reaching its eastern extremity the

following morning (April 11th), and found a strong W. S.W. wind

blowing, which just allowed us to lay across to the Matabello

Islands, a distance little short of twenty miles. I did not much

like the look of the heavy sky and rather rough sea, and my men

were very unwilling to make the attempt; but as we could scarcely

hope for a better chance, I insisted upon trying. The pitching

and jerking of our little boat, soon reduced me to a state of

miserable helplessness, and I lay down, resigned to whatever

might happen. After three or four hours, I was told we were

nearly over; but when I got up, two hours later, just as the sun

was setting, I found we were still a good distance from the

point, owing to a strong current which had been for some time

against us. Night closed in, and the wind drew more ahead, so we

had to take in sail. Then came a calm, and we rowed and sailed as

occasion offered; and it was four in the morning when we reached

the village of Kisslwoi, not having made more than three miles in

the last twelve hours.


At daylight I found we were; in a beautiful little harbour,

formed by a coral reef about two hundred yards from shore, and

perfectly secure in every wind. Having eaten nothing since the

previous morning, we cooked our breakfast comfortably on shore,

and left about noon, coasting along the two islands of this

group, which lie in the same line, and are separated by a narrow

channel. Both seem entirely formed of raised coral rock; but them

has been a subsequent subsidence, as shaven by the barrier reef

which extends all along them at varying distances from the shore,

This reef is sometimes only marked by a. line of breakers when

there is a little swell on the sea; in other places there is a

ridge of dead coral above the water, which is here and there high

enough to support a few low bushes. This was the first example I

had met with of a true barrier reef due to subsidence, as has

been so clearly shown by Mr. Darwin. In a sheltered archipelago

they will seldom be distinguishable, from the absence of those

huge rolling waves and breakers which in the wide ocean throw up

a barrier of broken coral far above the usual high-water mark,

while here they rarely rise to the surface.

On reaching the end of the southern island, called Uta, we were

kept waiting two days for a wind that would enable us to pass

over to the next island, Teor, and I began to despair of ever

reaching Ke, and determined on returning. We left with a south

wind, which suddenly changed to north-east, and induced me to

turn again southward in the hopes that this was the commencement

of a few days' favourable weather. We sailed on very well in the

direction of Teor for about an hour, after which the wind shifted

to WSW., and we were driven much out of our course, and at

nightfall found ourselves in the open sea, and full ten miles to

leeward of our destination. My men were now all very much

frightened, for if we went on we might be a. week at sea in our

little open boat, laden almost to the water's edge; or we might

drift on to the coast of New Guinea, in which case we should most

likely all be murdered. I could not deny these probabilities, and

although I showed them that we could not get back to our

starting-point with the wind as it was, they insisted upon

returning. We accordingly put about, and found that we could lay

no nearer to Uta than to Teor; however, by great good luck, about

ten o'clock we hit upon a little coral island, and lay under its

lee till morning, when a favourable change of wind brought us

back to Uta, and by evening (April 18th w e reached our first

anchorage in Matabello, where I resolved to stay a few days, and

then return to Goram. It way with much regret that I gave up my

trip to Ke and the intervening islands, which I had looked

forward to as likely to make up for my disappointment in Ceram,

since my short visit on my voyage to Aru had produced me so many

rare and beautiful insects.

The natives of Matabello are almost entirely occupied in making

cocoanut oil, which they sell to the Bugis and Goram traders, who

carry it to Banda and Amboyna. The rugged coral rock seems very

favourable to the growth of the cocoa-nut palm, which abounds

over the whole island to the very highest points, and produces

fruit all the year round. Along with it are great numbers of the

areca or betel-nut palm, the nuts of which are sliced, dried, and

ground into a paste, which is much used by the betel-chewing

Malays and Papuans. A11 the little children here even such as can

just run alone, carried between their lips a mass of the nasty-

looking red paste, which is even more disgusting than to see them

at the same age smoking cigars, which is very common even before

they are weaned. Cocoa-nuts, sweet potatoes, an occasional sago

cake, and the refuse nut after the oil has been extracted by

boiling, form the chief sustenance of these people; and the

effect of this poor and unwholesome diet is seen in the frequency

of eruptions and scurfy skin diseases, and the numerous sores

that disfigure the faces of the children.

The villages are situated on high and rugged coral peaks, only

accessible by steep narrow paths, with ladders and bridges over

yawning chasms. They are filthy with rotten husks and oil refuse,

and the huts are dark, greasy, and dirty in the extreme. The

people are wretched ugly dirty savages, clothed in unchanged

rags, and living in the most miserable manner, and as every drop

of fresh water has to be brought up from the beach, washing is

never thought of; yet they are actually wealthy, and have the

means of purchasing all the necessaries and luxuries of life.

Fowls are abundant, and eggs were given me whenever I visited the

villages, but these are never eaten, being looked upon as pets or

as merchandise. Almost all of the women wear massive gold

earrings, and in every village there are dozens of small bronze

cannon lying about on the ground, although they have cost on the

average perhaps 10 a piece. The chief men of each village came

to visit me, clothed in robes of silk and flowered satin, though

their houses and their daily fare are no better than those of the

ether inhabitants. What a contrast between these people and such

savages as the best tribes of bill. Dyaks in Borneo, or the

Indians of the Uaupes in South America, living on the banks of

clear streams, clean in their persons and their houses, with

abundance of wholesome food, and exhibiting its effect in healthy

shins and beauty of form and feature! There is in fact almost as

much difference: between the various races of savage as of

civilized peoples, and we may safely affirm that the better

specimens of the former are much superior to the lower examples

of the latter class.

One of the few luxuries of Matabello is the palm wine; which is

the fermented sap from the flower stains of the cocoa-net. It is

really a very mice drink, more like cyder than beer, though quite

as intoxicating as the latter. Young cocoa-nuts are also very

abundant, so that anywhere in the island it is only necessary to

go a few yards to find a delicious beverage by climbing up a tree

for it. It is the water of the young fruit that is drunk, before

the pulp has hardened; it is then more abundant, clear, and

refreshing, and the thin coating of gelatinous pulp is thought a

treat luxury. The water of full-brown cocoa-nuts is always thrown

away as undrinkable, although it is delicious in comparison with

that of the old dry nuts which alone we obtain in this country.

The cocoa-nut pulp I did not like at first; but fruits are so

scarce, except at particular seasons, that one soon learns to

appreciate anything of a fruity nature.

Many persons in Europe are under the impression that 	fruits of

delicious flavour abound in the tropical forests, and they will

no doubt be surprised to learn that the truly wild fruits of this

brand and luxuriant archipelago, the vegetation of which will vie

with that of any part of the world, are in almost every island

inferior in abundance and duality to those of Britain. Wild

strawberries and raspberries are found in some places, but they

arc such poor tasteless things as to be hardly worth eating, and

there is nothing to compare with our blackberries and

whortleberries. The kanary-nut may be considered equal to a

hazel-nut, but I have met with nothing else superior to our

crabs, oar haws, beech-nuts, wild plums, and  acorns; fruits

which would be highly esteemed by the natives of these islands,

and would form an important part of their sustenance. All the

fine tropical fruits are as much cultivated productions as our

apples, peaches, and plums, and their wild prototypes, when

found, are generally either tasteless or uneatable.

The people of Matabello, like those of most of the Mahometan

villages of East Ceram and Goram, amused me much by their strange

ideas concerning the Russian war. They believe that the Russians

were not only most thoroughly beaten by the Turks, but were

absolutely conquered, and all converted to Islamism! And they can

hardly be convinced that such is not the case, and that had it

not been for the assistance of France and England, the poor

Sultan world have fared ill. Another of their motions is, that

the Turks are the largest and strongest people in the world--in

fact a race of giants; that they eat enormous quantities of meat,

and are a most ferocious and irresistible nation. Whence such

strangely incorrect opinions could have arisen it is difficult to

understand, unless they are derived from Arab priests, or hadjis

returned from Mecca, who may have heard of the ancient prowess of

the Turkish armies when they made all Europe tremble, and suppose

that their character and warlike capacity must be the same at the

present time.


A steady south-east wind having set in, we returned to Manowolko

on the 25th of April, and the day after crossed over to Ondor,

the chief village of Goram.

Around this island extends, with few interruptions, an encircling

coral reef about a quarter of a mile from the shore, visible as a

stripe of pale green water, but only at very lowest ebb-tides

showing any rock above the surface. There are several deep

entrances through this reef, and inside it there is hood

anchorage in all weathers. The land rises gradually to a moderate

height, and numerous small streams descend on all sides. The mere

existence of these streams would prove that the island was not

entirely coralline, as in that case all the water would sink

through the porous rock as it does at Manowolko and Matabello;

but we have more positive proof in the pebbles and stones of

their beds, which exhibit a variety of stratified crystalline

rocks. About a hundred yards from the beach rises a wall of coral

rock, ten or twenty feet high, above which is an undulating

surface of rugged coral, which slopes downward towards the

interior, and then after a slight ascent is bounded by a second

wall of coral. Similar walls occur higher up, and coral is found

on the highest part of the island.

This peculiar structure teaches us that before the coral was

formed land existed in this spot; that this land sunk gradually

beneath the waters, but with intervals of rest, during which

encircling reef's were formed around it at different elevations;

that it then rose to above its present elevation, and is now

again sinking. We infer this, because encircling reefs are a

proof of subsidence; and if the island were again elevated about

a hundred feet, what is now the reef and the shallow sea within

it would form a wall of coral rock, and an undulating coralline

plain, exactly similar to those that still exist at various

altitudes up to the summit of the island. We learn also that

these changes have taken place at a comparatively recent epoch,

for the surface of the coral has scarcely suffered from the

action of the weather, and hundreds of sea-shells, exactly

resembling those still found upon the beach, and many of them

retaining their gloss and even their colour, are scattered over

the surface of the island to near its summit.

Whether the Goram group formed originally part of New Guinea or

of Ceram it is scarcely possible to determine, and its

productions will throw little light upon the question, if, as I

suppose, the islands have been entirely submerged within the

epoch of existing species of animals, as in that case it must owe

its present fauna and flora to recent immigration from

surrounding lands; and with this view its poverty in species very

well agrees. It possesses much in common with East Ceram, but at

the same time has a good deal of resemblance to the Ke Islands

and Banda. The fine pigeon, Carpophaga concinna, inhabits Ke,

Banda, 11-Iatabello, and Goram, and is replaced by a distinct

species, C. neglecta, in Ceram. The insects of these four islands

have also a common facies--facts which seem to indicate that some

more extensive land has recently disappeared from the area they

now occupy, and has supplied them with a few of its peculiar


The Goram people (among whom I stayed a month) are a race of

traders. Every year they visit the Tenimber, Ke, and Aru Islands,

the whole north-west coast of New Guinea from Oetanata to

Salwatty, and the island of Waigiou and Mysol. They also extend

their voyages to Tidore and Ternate, as well as to Banda and

Amboyna, Their praus are all made by that wonderful race of

boatbuilders, the Ke. islanders, who annually turn out some

hundreds of boats, large and small, which can hardly be surpassed

for beauty of form and goodness of workmanship, They trade

chiefly in tripang, the medicinal mussoi bark, wild nutmegs, and

tortoiseshell, which they sell to the Bugis traders at Ceram-laut

or Aru, few of them caring to take their products to any other

market. In other respects they are a lazy race, living very

poorly, and much given to opium smoking. The only native

manufactures are sail-matting, coarse cotton cloth, and pandanus-

leaf boxes, prettily stained and ornamented with shell-work.

In the island of Goram, only eight or ten miles long, there are

about a dozen Rajahs, scarcely better off than the rest of the

inhabitants, and exercising a mere nominal sway, except when any

order is received from the Dutch Government, when, being backed

by a higher power, they show a little more strict authority. My

friend the Rajah of Ammer (commonly called Rajah of Goram) told

me that a few years ago, before the Dutch had interfered in the

affairs of the island, the trade was not carried on so peaceably

as at present, rival praus often fighting when on the way to the

same locality, or trafficking in the same village. Now such a

thing is never thought of-one of the good effects of the

superintendence of a civilized government. Disputes between

villages are still, however, sometimes settled by fighting, and I

one day saw about fifty men, carrying long guns and heavy

cartridge-belts, march through the village. They had come from

the other side of the island on some question of trespass or

boundary, and were prepared for war if peaceable negotiations

should fail.

While at Manowolko I had purchased for 100 florins 9.) a small

prau, which was brought over the next day, as I was informed it

was more easy to have the necessary alterations made in Goram,

where several Ke workmen were settled.

As soon as we began getting my prau ready I was obliged to give

up collecting, as I found that unless I was constantly on the

spot myself very little work would be clone. As I proposed making

some long voyages in this boat, I determined to fit it up

conveniently, and was obliged to do all the inside work myself,

assisted by my two Amboynese boys. I had plenty of visitors,

surprised to see a white man at work, and much astonished at the

novel arrangements I was making in one of their native vessels.

Luckily I had a few tools of my own, including a small saw and

some chisels, and these were now severely tried, cutting and

fitting heavy iron-wood planks for the flooring and the posts

that support the triangular mast. Being of the best London make,

they stood the work well, and without them it would have been

impossible for me to have finished my boat with half the

neatness, or in double the time. I had a Ke workman to put in new

ribs, for which I bought nails of a Bugis trader, at 8d. a pound.

My gimlets were, however, too small; and having no augers we were

obliged to bore all the holes with hot irons, a most tedious and

unsatisfactory operation.

Five men had engaged to work at the prau till finished, and then

go with me to Mysol, Waigiou, and Ternate. Their ideas of work

were, however, very different from mine, and I had immense

difficulty with them; seldom more than two or three coming

together, and a hundred excuses being given for working only half

a day when they did come. Yet they were constantly begging

advances of money, saying they had nothing to eat. When I gave it

them they were sure to stay away the next day, and when I refused

any further advances some of them declined working any more. As

the boat approached completion my difficulties with the men

increased. The uncle of one had commenced a war, or sort of

faction fight, and wanted his assistance; another's wife was ill,

and would not let him come; a third had fever and ague, and pains

in his head and back; and a fourth had an inexorable creditor who

would not let him go out of his sight. They had all received a

month's wages in advance; and though the amount was not large, it

was necessary to make them pay it back, or I should get ago men

at a11. I therefore sent the village constable after two, and

kept them in custody a day, when they returned about three-

fourths of what they owed me. The sick man also paid, and the

steersman found a substitute who was willing to take his debt,

and receive only the balance of his wages.

About this time we had a striking proof of the dangers of New

Guinea trading. Six men arrived at the village in a small boat

almost starved, having escaped out of two praus, the remainder of

whose crews (fourteen in number) had been murdered by the natives

of New Guinea. The praus had left this village a few months

before, and among the murdered men were the Rajah's son, and the

relation or slaves of many of the inhabitants. The cry of

lamentation that arose when the news arrived was most

distressing. A score of women, who had lost husbands, brothers,

sons, or more distant relatives, set up at once the most dismal

shrieks and groans and wailings, which continued at intervals

till late at night; and as the chief houses in the village were

crowded together round that which I occupied, our situation was

anything but agreeable.

It seems that the village where the attack took place (nearly

opposite the small island of Lakahia) is known to be dangerous,

and the vessels had only gone there a few days before to buy some

tripang. The crew were living on shore, the praus being in a

small river close by, and they were attacked and murdered in the

day-time while bargaining with the Papuans. The six men who

survived were on board the praus, and escaped by at once setting

into the small boat and rowing out to sea.

This south-west part of New Guinea, known to the native traders

as "Papua Kowiyee" and "Papua Onen," is inhabited by the most

treacherous and bloodthirsty tribes. It is in these districts

that the commanders and portions of the crews of many of the

early discovery ships were murdered, and scarcely a year now

passes but some lives are lost. The Goram and Ceram traders are

themselves generally inoffensive; they are well acquainted with

the character of these natives, and are not likely to provoke an

attack by any insults or open attempt at robbery or imposition.

They are accustomed to visit the same places every year, and the

natives can have no fear of them, as may be alleged in excuse for

their attacks on Europeans. In other extensive districts

inhabited by the same Papuan races, such as Mysol, Salwatty,

Waigiou, and some parts of the adjacent coast, the people have

taken the first step in civilization, owing probably to the

settlement of traders of mixed breed among them, and for many

years no such attacks have taken place. On the south-west coast,

and in the large island of Jobie, however, the natives are in a

very barbarous condition, and tale every opportunity of robbery

and murder,--a habit which is confirmed by the impunity they

experience, owing to the vast extent of wild mountain and forest

country forbidding all pursuit or attempt at punishment. In the

very same village, four years before, more than fifty Goram men

were murdered; and as these savages obtain an immense booty in

the praus and all their appurtenances, it is to be feared that

such attacks will continue to be made at intervals as long as

traders visit the same spots and attempt no retaliation.

Punishment could only be inflicted on these people by very

arbitrary measures, such as by obtaining possession of some of

the chiefs by stratagem, and rendering them responsible for the

capture of the murderers at the peril of their own heads. But

anything of this kind would be done contrary to the system

adopted by the Dutch Government in its dealings with natives.


When my boat was at length launched and loaded, I got my men

together, and actually set sail the next day (May 27th), much to

the astonishment of the Goram people, to whom such punctuality

was a novelty. I had a crew of three men and a boy, besides my

two Amboyna lads; which was sufficient for sailing, though rather

too few if obliged to row much. The next day was very wet, with

squalls, calms, and contrary winds, and with some difficulty we

reached Kilwaru, the metropolis of the Bugis traders in the far

East. As I wanted to make some purchases, I stayed here two days,

and sent two of my boxes of specimens by a Macassar prau to be

forwarded to Ternate, thus relieving myself of a considerable

incumbrance. I bought knives, basins, and handkerchiefs for

barter, which with the choppers, cloth, and beads I had brought

with me, made a pretty good assortment. I also bought two tower

muskets to satisfy my crew, who insisted on the necessity of

being armed against attacks of pirates; and with spices and a few

articles of food for the voyage nearly my last doit was expended.

The little island of Kilwaru is a mere sandbank, just large

enough to contain a small village, and situated between the

islands of Ceram-laut, and Kissa--straits about a third of a mile

wide separating it from each of them. It is surrounded by coral

reefs, and offers good anchorage in both monsoons. Though not

more than fifty yards across, and not elevated more than three or

four feet above the highest tides, it has wells of excellent

drinking water--a singular phenomenon, which would seem to imply

deep-seated subterranean channels connecting it with other

islands. These advantages, with its situation in the centre of

the Papuan trading district, lead to its being so much frequented

by the Bugis traders. Here the Goram men bring the produce of

their little voyages, which they exchange for cloth, sago cakes,

and opium; and the inhabitants of all the surrounding islands

visit it with the game object. It is the rendezvous of the praus

trading to various parts of New Guinea, which here assort and dry

their cargoes, and refit for the voyage home. Tripang and mussoi

bark are the most bulky articles of produce brought here, with

wild nutmegs, tortoiseshell, pearls, and birds of Paradise; in

smaller quantities. The villagers of the mainland of Ceram bring

their sago, which is thus distributed to the islands farther

east, while rice from Bali and Macassar can also be purchased at

a moderate price. The Goram men come here for their supplies of

opium, both for their own consumption and for barter in Mysol and

Waigiou, where they have introduced it, and where the chiefs and

wealthy men are passionately fond of it. Schooners from Bali come

to buy Papuan slaves, while the sea-wandering Bugis arrive from

distant Singapore in their lumbering praus, bringing thence the

produce of the Chinamen's workshops and Kling's bazaar, as well

as of the looms of Lancashire and Massachusetts.

One of the Bugis traders who had arrived a few days before from

Mysol, brought me news of my assistant Charles Allen, with whom

he was well acquainted, and who, he assured me; was making large

collections of birds and insects, although he had not obtained

any birds of Paradise; Silinta, where he was staying, not being a

good place for them. This was on the whole satisfactory, and I

was anxious to reach him as soon as possible.

Leaving Kilwaru early in the morning of June 1st, with a strong

east wind we doubled the point of Ceram about noon, the heavy sea

causing my prau to roll abort a good deal, to the damage of our

crockery. As bad weather seemed coming on, we got inside the

reefs and anchored opposite the village of Warns-warns to wait

for a change.

The night was very squally, and though in a good harbour we

rolled and jerked uneasily; but in the morning I had greater

cause for uneasiness in the discovery that our entire Goram crew

had decamped, taking with them all they possessed and a little

more, and leaving us without any small boat in which to land. I

immediately told my Amboyna men to load and fire the muskets as a

signal of distress, which was soon answered by the village chief

sending off a boat, which took me on shore. I requested that

messengers should be immediately sent to the neighbouring

villages in quest of the fugitives, which was promptly done. My

prau was brought into a small creek, where it could securely rest

in the mud at low water, and part of a house was given me in

which T could stay for a while. I now found my progress again

suddenly checked, just when I thought I had overcome my chief

difficulties. As I had treated my men with the greatest kindness,

and had given them almost everything they had asked for, I can

impute their running away only to their being totally

unaccustomed to the restraint of a European master, and to some

undefined dread of my ultimate intentions regarding them. The

oldest man was an opium smoker, and a reputed thief, but I had

been obliged to take him at the last moment as a substitute for

another. I feel sure it was he who induced the others to run

away, and as they knew the country well, and had several hours'

start of us, there was little chance of catching them.

We were here in the great sago district of East Ceram which

supplies most of the surrounding islands with their daily bread,

and during our week's delay I had an opportunity of seeing the

whole process of making it, and obtaining some interesting

statistics. The sago tree is a palm, thicker and larger than the

cocoa-nut tree, although rarely so tall, and having immense

pinnate spiny leaves, which completely cover the trunk till it is

many years old. It has a creeping root-stem like the Nipa palm,

and when about ten or fifteen years of age sends up an immense

terminal spike of flowers, after which the tree dies. It grows in

swamps, or in swampy hollows on the rocky slopes of hills, where

it seems to thrive equally well as when exposed to the influx of

salt or brackish water. The midribs of the immense leaves form

one of the most useful articles in these lands, supplying the

place of bamboo, to which for many purposes they are superior.

They are twelve or fifteen feet long, and, when very fine, as

thick in the lower part as a man's leg. They are very light,

consisting entirely of a firm pith covered with a hard thin rind

or bark. Entire houses are built of these; they form admirable

roofing-poles for thatch; split and well-supported, they do for

flooring; and when chosen of equal size, and pegged together side

by side to fill up the panels of framed wooden horses, they have

a very neat appearance, and make better walls and partitions than

boards, as they do not shrink, require no paint or varnish, and

are not a quarter the expense. When carefully split and shaved

smooth they are formed into light boards with pegs of the bark

itself, and are the foundation of the leaf-covered boxes of

Goram. All the insect-boxes I used in the Moluccas were thus made

at Amboyna, and when covered with stout paper inside and out, are

strong, light, and secure the insect-pins remarkably well. The

leaflet of the sago folded and tied side by side on the smaller

midribs form the "atap "or thatch in universal use, while the

product of the trunk is the staple food of some= hundred

thousands of men.

When sago is to be made, a full-grown tree is selected just

before it is going to flower. It is cut down close to the ground,

the leaves and leafstalks cleared away, and a broad strip of the

bark taken off the upper side of the trunk. This exposes the

pithy matter, which is of a rusty colour near the bottom of the

tree, but higher up pure white, about as hard as a dry apple, but

with woody fibre running through it about a quarter of an inch

apart. This pith is cut or broken down into a coarse powder by

means of a tool constructed for the purpose--a club of hard and

heavy wood, having a piece of sharp quartz rock firmly  imbedded

into its blunt end, and projecting about half an inch. By

successive blows of this, narrow strips of the pith are cut away,

and fall down into the cylinder formed by the bark. Proceeding

steadily on, the whole trunk is cleared out, leaving a skin not

more than half an inch in thickness. This material is carried

away (in baskets made of the sheathing bases of the leaves) to

the nearest water, where a washing-machine is put up, which is

composed almost entirely of the saga tree itself. The large

sheathing bases of the leaves form the troughs, and the fibrous

covering from the leaf-stalks of the young cocoa-nut the

strainer. Water is poured on the mass of pith, which is kneaded

and pressed against the strainer till the starch is all dissolved

and has passed through, when the fibrous refuse is thrown away,

and a fresh basketful put in its place. The water charged with

sago starch passes on to a trough, with a depression in the

centre, where the sediment is deposited, the surplus water

trickling off by a shallow outlet. When the trough is nearly

full, the mass of starch, which has a slight reddish tinge, is

made into cylinders of about thirty pounds' weight, and neatly

covered with sago leaves, and in this state is sold as raw sago.

Boiled with water this forms a thick glutinous mass, with a

rather astringent taste, and is eaten with salt, limes, and

chilies. Sago-bread is made in large quantities, by baking it

into cakes in a small clay oven containing six or eight slits

side by side, each about three-quarters of an inch wide, and six

or eight inches square. The raw sago is broken up, dried in the

sun, powdered, and finely sifted. The oven is heated over a clear

fire of embers, and is lightly filled with the sago-powder. The

openings are then covered with a flat piece of sago bark, and in

about five minutes the cakes are turned out sufficiently baked.

The hot cakes are very nice with butter, and when made with the

addition of a little sugar and grated cocoa-nut are quite a

delicacy. They are soft, and something like corn-flour cakes, but

leave a slight characteristic flavour which is lost in the

refined sago we use in this country. When not wanted for

immediate use, they are dried for several days in the sun, and

tied up in bundles of twenty. They will then keep for years; they

are very hard, and very rough and dry, but the people are used to

them from infancy, and little children may be seen gnawing at

them as contentedly as ours with their bread-and-butter. If

dipped in water and then toasted, they become almost as good as

when fresh baked; and thus treated they were my daily substitute

for bread with my coffee. Soaked and boiled they make a very good

pudding or vegetable, and served well to economize our rice,

which is sometimes difficult to get so far east.

It is truly an extraordinary sight to witness a whole tree-trunk,

perhaps twenty feet long and four or five in circumference,

converted into food with so little labour and preparation. A

good-sized tree will produce thirty tomans or bundles of thirty

pounds each, and each toman will make sixty cakes of three to the

pound. Two of these cakes are as much as a man can eat at one

meal, and five are considered a full day's allowance; so that,

reckoning a tree to produce 1,800 cakes, weighing 600 pounds, it

will supply a man with food for a whole year. The labour to

produce this is very moderate. Two men will finish a tree in five

days, and two women will bake the whole into cakes in five days

more; but the raw sago will keep very well, and can be baked as

wanted, so that we may estimate that in ten days a man may

produce food for the whole year. This is on the supposition that

he possesses sago trees of his own, for they are now all private

property. If he does not, he has to pay about seven and sixpence

for one; and as labour here is five pence a day, the total cost

of a year's food for one man is about twelve shillings. The

effect of this cheapness of food is decidedly prejudicial, for

the inhabitants of the sago countries are never so well off as

those where rice is cultivated. Many of the people here have

neither vegetables nor fruit, but live almost entirely on sago

and a little fish. Having few occupations at home, they wander

about on petty trading or fishing expeditions to the neighbouring

islands; and as far as the comforts of life are concerned, are

much inferior to the wild hill-Dyaks of Borneo, or to many of the

more barbarous tribes of the Archipelago.

The country round Warus-warus is low and swampy, and owing to the

absence of cultivation there were scarcely any paths leading into

the forest. I was therefore unable to collect much during my

enforced stay, and found no rare birds or insects to improve my

opinion of Ceram as a collecting ground. Finding it quite

impossible to get men here to accompany me on the whole voyage, I

was obliged to be content with a crew to take me as far as Wahai,

on the middle of the north coast of Ceram, and the chief Dutch

station in the island. The journey took us five days, owing to

calms and light winds, and no incident of any interest occurred

on it, nor did I obtain at our stopping places a single addition

to my collections worth naming. At Wahai, which I reached on the

15th of June, I was hospitably received by the Commandant and my

old friend Herr Rosenberg, who was now on an official visit here.

He lent me some money to pay my men, and I was lucky enough to

obtain three others willing to make the voyage with me to

Ternate, and one more who was to return from Mysol. One of my

Amboyna lads, however, left me, so that I was still rather short

of hands.

I found here a letter from Charles Allen, who was at Silinta in

Mysol, anxiously expecting me, as he was out of rice and other

necessaries, and was short of insect-pins. He was also ill, and

if I did not soon come would return to Wahai.

As my voyage from this place to Waigiou was among islands

inhabited by the Papuan race, and was an eventful and disastrous

one, I will narrate its chief incidents in a separate chapter in

that division of my work devoted to the Papuan Islands. I now

have to pass over a year spent in Waigiou and Timor, in order to

describe my visit to the island of Bouru, which concluded my

explorations of the Moluccas.




I HAD long wished to visit the large island of Bouru, which lies

due west of Ceram, and of which scarcely anything appeared to be

known to naturalists, except that it contained a babirusa very

like that of Celebes. I therefore made arrangements for staying

there two months after leaving Timor Delli in 1861. This I could

conveniently do by means of the Dutch mail-steamers, which make a

monthly round of the Moluccas.

We arrived at the harbour of Cajeli on the 4th of May; a gun was

fired, the Commandant of the fort came alongside in a native boat

to receive the post-packet, and took me and my baggage on shore,

the steamer going off again without coming to an anchor. We went

to the horse of the Opzeiner, or overseer, a native of Amboyna--

Bouru being too poor a place to deserve even an Assistant

Resident; yet the appearance of the village was very far superior

to that of Delli, which possesses "His Excellency the Governor,"

and the little fort, in perfect order, surrounded by neat brass-

plots and straight walks, although manned by only a dozen

Javanese soldiers with an Adjutant for commander, was a very

Sebastopol in comparison with the miserable mud enclosure at

Delli, with its numerous staff of Lieutenants, Captain, and

Major. Yet this, as well as most of the forts in the Moluccas,

was originally built by the Portuguese themselves. Oh! Lusitania,

how art thou fallen!

While the Opzeiner was reading his letters, I took a walk round

the village with a guide in search of a horse. The whole place

was dreadfully damp and muddy, being built in a swamp with not a

spot of ground raised a foot above it, and surrounded by swamps

on every side. The houses were mostly well built, of wooden

framework filled in with gaba-gaba (leaf-stems of the sago-palm),

but as they had no whitewash, and the floors were of bare black

earth like the roads, and generally on the same level, they were

extremely damp and gloomy. At length I found one with the floor

raised about a foot, and succeeded in making a bargain with the

owner to turn out immediately, so that by night I had installed

myself comfortably. The chairs and tables were left for me; and

as the whole of the remaining furniture in the house consisted of

a little crockery and a few clothes-boxes, it was not much

trouble for the owners to move into the house of some relatives,

and thus obtain a few silver rupees very easily. Every foot of

ground between the homes throughout the village is crammed with

fruit trees, so that the sun and air have no chance of

penetrating. This must be very cool and pleasant in the dry

season, but makes it damp and unhealthy at other times of the

year. Unfortunately I had come two months too soon, for the rains

were not yet over, and mud and water were the prominent features

of the country.

About a mile behind and to the east of the village the hills

commence, but they are very barren, being covered with scanty

coarse grass and scattered trees of the Melaleuca cajuputi, from

the leaves of which the celebrated cajeput oil is made. Such

districts are absolutely destitute of interest for the zoologist.

A few miles further on rose higher mountains, apparently well

covered with forest, but they were entirely uninhabited and

trackless, and practically inaccessible to a traveller with

limited time and means. It became evident, therefore, that I must

leave Cajeli for some better collecting ground, and finding a man

who was going a few miles eastward to a village on the coast

where he said there were hills and forest, I sent my boy Ali with

him to explore and report on the capabilities of the district. At

the same time I arranged to go myself on a little excursion up a

river which flows into the bay about five miles north of the

town, to a village of the Alfuros, or indigenes, where I thought

I might perhaps find a good collecting ground.

The Rajah of Cajeli, a good-tempered old man, offered to

accompany me, as the village was under his government; and we

started one morning early, in a long narrow boat with eight

rowers. In about two hours we entered the river, and commenced

our inland journey against a very powerful current. The stream

was about a hundred yards wide, and was generally bordered with

high grass, and occasionally bushes and palm-trees. The country

round was flat and more or less swampy, with scattered trees and

shrubs. At every bend we crossed the river to avoid the strength

of the current, and arrived at our landing-place about four

o'clock in a torrent of rain. Here we waited for an hour,

crouching under a leaky mat till the Alfuros arrived who had been

sent for from the village to carry my baggage, when we set off

along a path of whose extreme muddiness I had been warned before


I turned up my trousers as high as possible, grasped a stoat

stick to prevent awkward falls, and then boldly plunged into the

first mud-hole, which was immediately succeeded by another and

another. The marl or mud and water was knee-deep with little

intervals of firmer ground between, making progression

exceedingly difficult. The path was bordered with high rigid

grass, brewing in dense clumps separated by water, so that

nothing was to be gained by leaving the beaten track, and we were

obliged to go floundering on, never knowing where our feet would

rest, as the mud was now a few inches, now two feet deep, and the

bottom very uneven, so that the foot slid down to the lowest

part, and made it difficult to keep one's balance. One step would

be upon a concealed stick or log, almost dislocating the ankle,

while the next would plunge into soft mud above the knee. It

rained all the way, and the long grass, six feet high, met over

the path; so that we could not see a step of the way ahead, and

received a double drenching. Before we got to the village it was

dark, and we had to cross over a small but deep and swollen

stream by a narrow log of wood, which was more than a foot under

water. There was a slender shaking stick for a handrail, and it

was nervous work feeling in the dark in the rushing water for a

safe place on which to place the advanced foot. After au hour of

this most disagreeable and fatiguing walk we reached the village,

followed by the men with our guns, ammunition, boxes, and bedding

all more or less soaked. We consoled ourselves with some hot tea

and cold fowl, and went early to bed.

The next morning was clear and fine, and I set out soon after

sunrise to explore the neighbourhood. The village had evidently

been newly formed, and consisted of a single straight street of

very miserable huts totally deficient in every comfort, and as

bare and cheerless inside as out. It was situated on a little

elevated patch of coarse gravelly soil, covered with the usual

high rigid grass, which came up close to the backs of the houses.

At a short distance in several directions were patches of forest,

but all on low and swampy ground. I made one attempt along the

only path I could find, but soon came upon a deep mud-hole, and

found that I must walk barefoot if at all; so I returned and

deferred further exploration till after breakfast. I then went on

into the jungle and found patches of sago-palms and a low forest

vegetation, but the paths were everywhere full of mud-holes, and

intersected by muddy streams and tracts of swamp, so that walking

was not pleasurable, and too much attention to one's steps was

not favourable to insect catching, which requires above

everything freedom of motion. I shot a few birds, and caught a

few butterflies, but all were the same as I had already obtained

about Cajeli.

On my return to the village I was told that the same kind of

ground extended for many miles in every direction, and I at once

decided that Wayapo was not a suitable place to stay at. The next

morning early we waded back again through the mud and long wet

grass to our boat, and by mid-day reached Cajeli, where I waited

Ali's return to decide on my future movements. He came the

following day, and gave a very bad account of Pelah, where he had

been. There was a little brush and trees along the beach, and

hills inland covered with high grass and cajuputi trees--my dread

and abhorrence. On inquiring who could give me trustworthy

information, I was referred to the Lieutenant of the Burghers,

who had travelled all round the island, and was a very

intelligent fellow. I asked him to tell me if he knew of any part

of Bouru where there was no "kusu-kusu," as the coarse grass of

the country is called. He assured me that a good deal of the

south coast was forest land, while along the north was almost

entirely swamp and grassy hills. After minute inquiries, I found

that the forest country commenced at a place called Waypoti, only

a few miles beyond Pelah, but that, as the coast beyond that

place was exposed to the east monsoon and dangerous for praus, it

was necessary to walk. I immediately went to the Opzeiner, and he

called the Rajah. We had a consultation, and arranged for a boat

to take me the next evening but one, to Pelah, whence I was to

proceed on foot, the Orang-kaya going the day before to call the

Alfuros to carry my baggage.

The journey was made as arranged, and on May 19th we arrived at

Waypoti, having walked about ten miles along the beach, and

through stony forest bordering the sea, with occasional plunges

of a mile or two into the interior. We found no village, but

scattered houses and plantations, with hilly country pretty well

covered with forest, and looking rather promising. A low hut with

a very rotten roof, showing the sky through in several places,

was the only one I could obtain. Luckily it did not rain that

night, and the next day we pulled down some of the walls to

repair the roof, which was of immediate importance, especially

over our beds and table.

About half a mile from the house was a fine mountain stream,

running swiftly over a bed of rocks and pebbles, and beyond this

was a hill covered with fine forest. By carefully picking my way

I could wade across this river without getting much above my

knees, although I would sometimes slip off a rock and go into a

hole up to my waist, and about twice a week I went across it in

order to explore the forest. Unfortunately there were no paths

here of any extent, and it did not prove very productive either

in insects or birds. To add to my difficulties I had stupidly

left my only pair of strong hoots on board the steamer, and my

others were by this time all dropping to pieces, so that I was

obliged to walk about barefooted, and in constant fear of hurting

my feet, and causing a wound which might lay me up for weeks, as

had happened in Borneo, Are, and Dorey. Although there were

numerous plantations of maize and plantains, there were no new

clearings; and as without these it is almost impossible to find

many of the best kinds of insects, I determined to make one

myself, and with much difficulty engaged two men to clear a patch

of forest, from which I hoped to obtain many fine beetles before

I left.

During the whole of my stay, however, insects never became

plentiful. My clearing produced me a few fine, longicorns and

Buprestidae, different from any I had before seen, together with

several of the Amboyna species, but by no means so numerous or,

so beautiful as I had found in that small island. For example, I

collected only 210 different kinds of beetles during my two

months' stay at Bourn, while in three weeks at Amboyna, in 1857,

I found more than 300 species: One of the finest insects found at

Bouru was a large Cerambyx, of a deep shining chestnut colour,

and with very long antennae. It varied greatly in size, the

largest specimens being three inches long, while the smallest

were only an inch, the antenna varying from one and a half to

five inches.

One day my boy Ali came home with a story of a big snake. He was

walking through some high grass, and stepped on something which

he took for a small fallen tree, but it felt cold and yielding to

his feet, and far to the right and left there was a waving and

rustling of the herbage. He jumped back in affright and prepared

to shoot, but could not get a good vies of the creature, and it

passed away, he said, like a tree being dragged along through the

grass. As he lead several times already shot large snakes, which

he declared were all as nothing compared with this, I am inclined

to believe it must really have been a monster. Such creatures are

rather plentiful here, for a man living close by showed me on his

thigh the marks where he bad been seized by one close to his

house. It was big enough to take the man's thigh in its mouth,

and he would probably have been killed and devoured by it had not

his cries brought out his neighbours, who destroyed it with their

choppers. As far as I could make out it was about twenty feet

long, but Ali's was probably much larger.

It sometimes amuses me to observe how, a few days after I have

taken possession of it, a native hut seems quite a comfortable

home. My house at Waypoti was a bare shed, with a large bamboo

platform at one side. At one end of this platform, which was

elevated about three feet, I fixed up my mosquito curtain, and

partly enclosed it with a large Scotch plaid, making a

comfortable little sleeping apartment. I put up a rude table on

legs buried in the earthen floor, and had my comfortable rattan-

chair for a seat. A line across one corner carried my daily-

washed cotton clothing, and on a bamboo shelf was arranged my

small stock of crockery and hardware: Boxes were ranged against

the thatch walls, and hanging shelves, to preserve my collections

from ants while drying, were suspended both without and within

the house. On my table lay books, penknives, scissors, pliers,

and pins, with insect and bird labels, all of which were unsolved

mysteries to the native mind.

Most of the people here had never seen a pin, and the better

informed took a pride in teaching their more ignorant companions

the peculiarities and uses of that strange European production--a

needle with a head, but no eye! Even paper, which we throw away

hourly as rubbish, was to them a curiosity; and I often saw them

picking up little scraps which had been swept out of the house,

and carefully putting them away in their betel-pouch. Then when I

took my morning coffee and evening tea, how many were the strange

things displayed to them! Teapot, teacups, teaspoons, were all

more or less curious in their eyes; tea, sugar, biscuit, and

butter, were articles of human consumption seen by many of them

for the first time. One asks if that whitish powder is "gula

passir" (sand-sugar), so called to distinguish it from the coarse

lump palm-sugar or molasses of native manufacture; and the

biscuit is considered a sort of European sago-cake, which the

inhabitants of those remote regions are obliged to use in the

absence of the genuine article. My pursuit, were of course

utterly beyond their comprehension. They continually asked me

what white people did with the birds and insects I tools so much

care to preserve. If I only kept what was beautiful, they might

perhaps comprehend it; but to see ants and files and small ugly

insects put away so carefully was a great puzzle to them, and

they were convinced that there must be some medical or magical

use for them which I kept a profound secret. These people were in

fact as completely unacquainted with civilized life as the

Indians of the Rocky Mountains, or the savages of Central Africa-

-yet a steamship, that highest triumph of human ingenuity, with

its little floating epitome of European civilization, touches

monthly at Cajeli, twenty miles off; while at Amboyna, only sixty

miles distant, a European population and government have been

established for more than three hundred years.

Having seen a good many of the natives of Bouru from different

villages, and from distant parts of the island, I feel convinced

that they consist of two distinct races now partially

amalgamated. The larger portion are Malays of the Celebes type,

often exactly similar to the Tomre people of East Celebes, whom

I found settled in Batchian; while others altogether resemble the

Alfuros of Ceram.

The influx of two races can easily be accounted for. The Sula

Islands, which are closely connected with East Celebes, approach

to within forty miles of the north coast of Bouru, while the

island of Manipa offers an easy point of departure for the people

of Ceram. I was confirmed in this view by finding that the

languages of Bouru possessed distinct resemblances to that of

Sula, as well as to those of Ceram.

Soon after we had arrived at Waypoti, Ali had seen a beautiful

little bird of the genus Pitta, which I was very anxious to

obtain, as in almost every island the species are different, and

none were yet known from Bourn. He and my other hunter continued

to see it two or three times a week, and to hear its peculiar

note much oftener, but could never get a specimen, owing to its

always frequenting the most dense thorny thickets, where only

hasty glimpses of it could be obtained, and at so short a

distance that it would be difficult to avoid blowing the bird to

pieces. Ali was very much annoyed that he could not get a

specimen of this bird, in going after which he had already

severely, wounded his feet with thorns; and when we had only two

days more to stay, he went of his own accord one evening to sleep

at a little but in the forest some miles off, in order to have a

last try for it at daybreak, when many birds come out to feed,

and are very intent on their morning meal. The next evening he

brought me home two specimens, one with the head blown completely

off, and otherwise too much injured to preserve, the other in

very good order, and which I at once saw to be a new species,

very like the Pitta celebensis, but ornamented with a square

patch of bright red on the nape of the neck.

The next day after securing this prize we returned to Cajeli, and

packing up my collections left Bouru by the steamer. During our

two days' stay at Ternate, I took on board what baggage I had

left there, and bade adieu to all my friends. We then crossed

over to Menado, on our way to Macassar and Java, and I finally

quitted the Moluccas, among whose luxuriant and beautiful islands

I had wandered for more than three years.

My collections in Bouru, though not extensive, were of

considerable interest; for out of sixty-six species of birds

which I collected there, no less than seventeen were new, or had

not been previously found in any island of the Moluccas. Among

these were two kingfishers, Tanysiptera acis and Ceyx Cajeli; a

beautiful sunbird, Nectarines proserpina; a handsome little black

and white flycatcher, Monarcha loricata, whose swelling throat

was beautifully scaled with metallic blue; and several of less

interest. I also obtained a skull of the babirusa, one specimen

of which was killed by native hunters during my residence at




THE Moluccas consist of three large islands, Gilolo, Ceram, and

Bouru, the two former being each about two hundred miles long;

and a great number of smaller isles and islets, the most

important of which are Batchian, Morty, Obi, Ke, Timor-Laut, and

Amboyna; and among the smaller ones, Ternate, Tidore, Kaia, and

Banda. They occupy a space of ten degrees of latitude by eight of

longitude, and they are connected by groups of small islets to

New Guinea on the east, the Philippines on the north, Celebes on

the west, and Timor on the south. It will be as well to bear in

mind these main features of extent and geographical position,

while we survey their animal productions and discuss their

relations to the countries which surround them on every side in

almost equal proximity.

We will first consider the Mammalia or warm-blooded quadrupeds,

which present us with some singular anomalies. The land mammals

are exceedingly few in number, only ten being yet known from the

entire group. The bats or aerial mammals, on the other hand, are

numerous--not less than twenty-five species being already known.

But even this exceeding poverty of terrestrial mammals does not

at all represent the real poverty of the Moluccas in this class

of animals; for, as we shall soon see, there is good reason to

believe that several of the species have been introduced by man,

either purposely or by accident.

The only quadrumanous animal in the group is the curious baboon-

monkey, Cynopithecus nigrescens, already described as being one

of the characteristic animals of Celebes. This is found only in

the island of Batchian; and it seems so much out of place there

as it is difficult to imagine how it could have reached the

island by any natural means of dispersal, and yet not have passed

by the same means over the narrow strait to Gilolo--that it seems

more likely to have originated from some individuals which had

escaped from confinement, these and similar animals being often

kept as pets by the Malays, and carried about in their praus.

Of all the carnivorous animals of the Archipelago the only one

found in the Moluccas is the Viverra tangalunga, which inhabits

both Batchian and Bouru, and probably come of the other islands.

I am inclined to think that this also may have been introduced

accidentally, for it is often made captive by the Malays, who

procure civet from it, and it is an animal very restless and

untameable, and therefore likely to escape. This view is rendered

still more probable by what Antonio de Morga tells us was the

custom in the Philippines in 1602. He says that "the natives of

Mindanao carry about civet-cats in cages, and sell them in the

islands; and they take the civet from them, and let them go

again." The same species is common in the Philippines and in all

the large islands of the Indo-Malay region.

The only Moluccan ruminant is a deer, which was once supposed to

be a distinct species, but is now generally considered to be a

slight variety of the Rusa hippelaphus of Java. Deer are often

tamed and petted, and their flesh is so much esteemed by all

Malays, that it is very natural they should endeavour to

introduce them into the remote islands in which they settled, and

whose luxuriant forests seem so well adapted for their


The strange babirusa of Celebes is also found in Bouru; but in no

other Moluccan island, and it is somewhat difficult to imagine

how it got there. It is true that there is some approximation

between the birds of the Sula Islands (where the babirusa is also

found) and those of Bouru, which seems to indicate that these

islands have recently been closer together, or that some

intervening land has disappeared. At this time the babirusa may

have entered Bouru, since it probably swims as well as its allies

the pigs. These are spread all over the Archipelago, even to

several of the smaller islands, and in many cases the species are

peculiar. It is evident, therefore, that they have some natural

means of dispersal. There is a popular idea that pigs cannot

swim, but Sir Charles Lyell has shown that this is a mistake. In

his "Principles of Geology" (10th Edit. vol. ii p. 355) he adduces

evidence to show that pigs have swum many miles at sea, and are

able to swim with great ease and swiftness. I have myself seen a

wild pig swimming across the arm of the sea that separates

Singapore from the Peninsula of Malacca, and we thus have

explained the curious fact, that of all the large mammals of the

Indian region, pigs alone extend beyond the Moluccas and as far

as New Guinea, although it is somewhat curious that they have not

found their way to Australia.

The little shrew, Sorex myosurus, which is common in Sumatra,

Borneo, and Java, is also found in the larger islands of the

Moluccas, to which it may have been accidentally conveyed in

native praus.

This completes the list of the placental mammals which are so

characteristic of the Indian region; and we see that, with the

single exception of the pig, all may very probably have been

introduced by man, since all except the pig are of species

identical with those now abounding in the great Malay islands, or

in Celebes.

The four remaining mammals are Marsupials, an order of the class

Mammalia, which is very characteristic of the Australian fauna;

and these are probably true natives of the Moluccas, since they

are either of peculiar species, or if found elsewhere are natives

only of New Guinea or North Australia. The first is the small

flying opossum, Belideus ariel, a beautiful little animal,

exactly line a small flying squirrel in appearance, but belonging

to the marsupial order. The other three are species of the

curious genus Cuscus, which is peculiar to the Austro-Malayan

region. These are opossum-like animals, with a long prehensile

tail, of which the terminal half is generally bare. They have

small heads, large eyes, and a dense covering of woolly fur,

which is often pure white with irregular black spots or blotches,

or sometimes ashy brown with or without white spots. They live in

trees, feeding upon the leaves, of which they devour large

quantities, they move about slowly, and are difficult to kill,

owing to the thickness of their fur, and their tenacity of life.

A heavy charge of shot will often lodge in the slain and do them

no harm, and even breaking the spine or piercing the brain will

not kill them for some hours. The natives everywhere eat their

flesh, and as their motions are so slow, easily catch them by

climbing; so that it is wonderful they have not been

exterminated. It may be, however, that their dense woolly fur

protects them from birds of prey, and the islands they live in

are too thinly inhabited for man to be able to exterminate them.

The figure represents Cuscus ornatus, a new species discovered by

me in Batchian, and which also inhabits Ternate. It is peculiar

to the Moluccas, while the two other species which inhabit Ceram

are found also in New Guinea and Waigiou.

In place of the excessive poverty of mammals which characterises

the Moluccas, we have a very rich display of the feathered

tribes. The number of species of birds at present known from the

various islands of the Molluccan group is 265, but of these only

70 belong to the usually abundant tribes of the waders and

swimmers, indicating that these are very imperfectly known. As

they are also pre-eminently wanderers, and are thus little fitted

for illustrating the geographical distribution of life in a

limited area, we will here leave them out of consideration and

confine our attention only to the 195 land birds.

When we consider that all Europe, with its varied climate and

vegetation, with every mile of its surface explored, and with the

immense extent of temperate Asia and Africa, which serve as

storehouses, from which it is continually recruited, only

supports 25l species of land birds as residents or regular

immigrants, we must look upon the numbers already procured in the

small and comparatively unknown islands of the Moluccas as

indicating a fauna of fully average richness in this department.

But when we come to examine the family groups which go to make up

this number, we find the most curious deficiencies in some,

balanced by equally striking redundancy in other. Thus if we

compare the birds of the Moluccas with those of India, as given

in Mr. Jerdon's work, we find that the three groups of the

parrots, kingfishers, and pigeons, form nearly _one-third_ of the

whole land-birds in the former, while they amount to only _one-

twentieth_ in the latter country. On the other hand, such wide-

spread groups as the thrushes, warblers, and finches, which in

India form nearly _one-third_ of all the land-birds, dwindle down

in the Moluccas to _one-fourteenth._

The reason of these peculiarities appears to be, that the

Moluccan fauna has been almost entirely derived from that of New

Guinea, in which country the same deficiency and the same

luxuriance is to be observed. Out of the seventy-eight genera in

which the Moluccan land-birds may be classed, no less than

seventy are characteristic of Yew Guinea, while only six belong

specially to the Indo-Malay islands. But this close resemblance

to New Guinea genera does not extend to the species, for no less

than 140 out of the 195 land-birds are peculiar to the Moluccan

islands, while 32 are found also in New Guinea, and 15 in the

Indo-Malay islands. These facts teach us, that though the birds

of this group have evidently been derived mainly from New Guinea,

yet the immigration has not been a recent one, since there has

been time for the greater portion of the species to have become

changed. We find, also, that many very characteristic New Guinea

forms lave not entered the Moluccas at all, while others found in

Ceram and Gilolo do not extend so far west as Bouru. Considering,

further, the absence of most of the New Guinea mammals from the

Moluccas, we are led to the conclusion that these islands are not

fragments which have been separated from New Guinea, but form a

distinct insular region, which has been upheaved independently at

a rather remote epoch, and during all the mutations it has

undergone has been constantly receiving immigrants from that

great and productive island. The considerable length of time the

Moluccas have remained isolated is further indicated by the

occurrence of two peculiar genera of birds, Semioptera and

Lycocorax, which are found nowhere else.

We are able to divide this small archipelago into two well marked

groups--that of Ceram, including also Bouru. Amboyna, Banda, and

Ke; and that of Gilolo, including Morty, Batchian, Obi, Ternate,

and other small islands. These divisions have each a considerable

number of peculiar species, no less than fifty-five being found

in the Ceram group only; and besides this, most of the separate

islands have some species peculiar to themselves. Thus Morty

island has a peculiar kingfisher, honeysucker, and starling;

Ternate has a ground-thrush (Pitta) and a flycatcher; Banda has a

pigeon, a shrike, and a Pitta; Ke has two flycatchers, a

Zosterops, a shrike, a king-crow and a cuckoo; and the remote

Timor-Laut, which should probably come into the Moluccan group,

has a cockatoo and lory as its only known birds, and both are of

peculiar species.

The Moluccas are especially rich in the parrot tribe, no less

than twenty-two species, belonging to ten genera, inhabiting

them. Among these is the large red-crested cockatoo, so commonly

seen alive in Europe, two handsome red parrots of the genus

Eclectus, and five of the beautiful crimson lories, which are

almost exclusively confined to these islands and the New Guinea

group. The pigeons are hardly less abundant or beautiful, twenty-

one species being known, including twelve of the beautiful green

fruit pigeons, the smaller kinds of which are ornamented with the

most brilliant patches of colour on the head and the under-

surface. Next to these come the kingfishers, including sixteen

species, almost all of which are beautiful, end many are among

the most brilliantly-coloured birds that exist.

One of the most curious groups of birds, the Megapodii, or mound-

makers, is very abundant in the Moluccas. They are gallinaceous

birds, about the size of a small fowl, and generally of a dark

ashy or sooty colour, and they have remarkably large and strong

feet and long claws. They are allied to the "Maleo" of Celebes,

of which an account has already been given, but they differ in

habits, most of these birds frequenting the scrubby jungles along

the sea-shore, where the soil is sandy, and there is a

considerable quantity of debris, consisting of sticks, shells,

seaweed, leaves, &c. Of this rubbish the Megapodius forms immense

mounds, often six or eight feet high and twenty or thirty feet in

diameter, which they are enabled to do with comparative ease, by

means of their large feet, with which they can grasp and throw

backwards a quantity of material. In the centre of this mound, at

a depth of two or three feet, the eggs are deposited, and are

hatched by the gentle heat produced by the fermentation of the

vegetable matter of the mound. When I first saw these mounds in

the island of Lombock, I could hardly believe that they were made

by such small birds, but I afterwards met with them frequently,

and have once or twice come upon the birds engaged in making

them. They run a few steps backwards, grasping a quantity of

loose material in one foot, and throw it a long way behind them.

When once properly buried the eggs seem to be no more cared for,

the young birds working their way up through the heap of rubbish,

and running off at once into the forest. They come out of the egg

covered with thick downy feathers, and have no tail, although the

wings are full developed.

I was so fortunate as to discover a new species (Megapodius

wallacei), which inhibits Gilolo, Ternate, and Bouru. It is the

handsomest bird of the genus, being richly banded with reddish

brown on the back and wings; and it differs from the other

species in its habits. It frequents the forests of the interior,

and comes down to the sea-beach to deposit its eggs, but instead

of making a mound, or scratching a hole to receive them, it

burrows into the sand to the depth of about three feet obliquely

downwards, and deposits its eggs at the bottom. It then loosely

covers up the mouth of the hole, and is said by the natives to

obliterate and disguise its own footmarks leading to and from the

hole, by making many other tracks and scratches in the

neighbourhood. It lays its eggs only at night, and at Bouru a

bird was caught early one morning as it was coming out of its

hole, in which several eggs were found. All these birds seem to

be semi-nocturnal, for their loud wailing cries may be constantly

heard late into the night and long before daybreak in the

morning. The eggs are all of a rusty red colour, and very large

for the size of the bird, being generally three or three and a

quarter inches long, by two or two and a quarter wide. They are

very good eating, and are much sought after by the natives.

Another large and extraordinary bird is the Cassowary, which

inhabits the island of Ceram only. It is a stout and strong bird,

standing five or six feet high, and covered with long coarse

black hair-like feathers. The head is ornamented with a large

horny calque or helmet, and the bare skin of the neck is

conspicuous with bright blue and red colours. The wings are quite

absent, and are replaced by a group of horny black spines like

blunt porcupine quills.

These birds wander about the vast mountainous forests that cover

the island of Ceram, feeding chiefly on fallen fruits, and on

insects or crustacea. The female lays from three to five large

and beautifully shagreened green eggs upon a bed of leaves, the

male and female sitting upon them alternately for about a month.

This bird is the helmeted cassowary (Casuarius galeatus) of

naturalists, and was for a long time the only species known.

Others have since been discovered in New Guinea, New Britain, and

North Australia.

It was in the Moluccas that I first discovered undoubted cases of

"mimicry" among birds, and these are so curious that I must

briefly describe them. It will be as well, however, first to

explain what is meant by mimicry in natural history. At page 205

of the first volume of this work, I have described a butterfly

which, when at rest, so closely resembles a dead leaf, that it

thereby escape the attacks of its enemies. This is termed a

"protective resemblance." If however the butterfly, being itself

savoury morsel to birds, had closely resembled another butterfly

which was disagreeable to birds, and therefore never eaten by

them, it would be as well protected as if it resembled a leaf;

and this is what has been happily termed "mimicry" by Mr. Bates,

who first discovered the object of these curious external

imitations of one insect by another belonging to a distinct genus

or family, and sometimes even to a distinct order. The clear-

winged moth which resemble wasps and hornets are the best

examples of "mimicry" in our own country.

For a long time all the known cases of exact resemblance of one

creature to quite a different one were confined to insects, and

it was therefore with great pleasure that I discovered in the

island of Bouru two birds which I constantly mistook for each

other, and which yet belonged to two distinct and somewhat

distant families. One of these is a honeysucker named

Tropidorhynchus bouruensis, and the other a kind of oriole, which

has been called Mimeta bouruensis. The oriole resembles the

honeysucker in the following particulars: the upper and under

surfaces of the two birds are exactly of the same tints of dark

and light brown; the Tropidorhynchus has a large bare black patch

round the eyes; this is copied in the Mimeta by a patch of black

feathers. The top of the head of the Tropidorhynchus has a scaly

appearance from the narrow scale-formed feathers, which are

imitated by the broader feathers of the Mimeta having a dusky

line down each. The Tropidorhynchus has a pale ruff formed of

curious recurved feathers on the nape (which has given the whole

genus the name of Friar birds); this is represented in the Mimeta

by a pale band in the same position. Lastly, the bill of the

Tropidorhynchus is raised into a protuberant keel at the base,

and the Mimeta has the same character, although it is not a

common one in the genus. The result is, that on a superficial

examination the birds are identical, although they leave

important structural differences, and cannot be placed near each

other in any natural arrangement.

In the adjacent island of Ceram we find very distinct species of

both these genera, and, strange to say, these resemble each other

quite as closely as do those of Bouru The Tropidorhynchus

subcornutus is of an earthy brown colour, washed with ochreish

yellow, with bare orbits, dusky: cheeks, and the usual recurved

nape-ruff: The Mimeta forsteni which accompanies it, is

absolutely identical in the tints of every part of the body, and

the details are copied just as minutely as in the former species.

We have two kinds of evidence to tell us which bird in this case

is the model, and which the copy. The honeysuckers are coloured

in a manner which is very general in the whole family to which

they belong, while the orioles seem to have departed from the gay

yellow tints so common among their allies. We should therefore

conclude that it is the latter who mimic the former. If so,

however, they must derive some advantage from the imitation, and

as they are certainly weak birds, with small feet and claws, they

may require it. Now the Tropidorhynchi are very strong and active

birds, having powerful grasping claws, and long, curved, sharp

beaks. They assemble together in groups and small flocks, and

they haw a very loud bawling note which can be heard at a great

distance, and serves to collect a number together in time of

danger. They are very plentiful and very pugnacious, frequently

driving away crows and even hawks, which perch on a tree where a

few of them are assembled. It is very probable, therefore, that

the smaller birds of prey have learnt to respect these birds and

leave them alone, and it may thus be a great advantage for the

weaker and less courageous Mimetas to be mistaken for them. This

being case, the laws of Variation and Survival of the Fittest,

will suffice to explain how the resemblance has been brought

about, without supposing any voluntary action on the part of the

birds themselves; and those who have read Mr. Darwin's "Origin of

Species" will have no difficulty in comprehending the whole


The insects of the Moluccas are pre-eminently beautiful, even

when compared with the varied and beautiful productions of other

parts of the Archipelago. The grand bird-winged butterflies

(Ornithoptera) here reach their maximum of size and beauty, and

many of the Papilios, Pieridae Danaidae, and Nymphalidae are

equally preeminent. There is, perhaps, no island in the world so

small as Amboyna where so many grand insects are to be found.

Here are three of the very finest Ornithopterae--priamus, helena,

and remiss; three of the handsomest and largest Papilios--

ulysses, deiphobus, and gambrisius; one of the handsomest

Pieridae, Iphias leucippe; the largest of the Danaidae, Hestia

idea; and two unusually large and handsome Nymphalidae--Diadema

pandarus, and Charaxes euryalus. Among its beetles are the

extraordinary Euchirus longimanus, whose enormous legs spread

over a space of eight inches, and an unusual number of large and

handsome Longicorns, Anthribidae, and Buprestidae.

The beetles figured on the plate as characteristic of the

Moluccas are: 1. A small specimen of the Euchirus longimanus, or

Long-armed Chafer, which has been already mentioned in the

account of my residence at Amboyna (Chapter XX.). The female has

the fore legs of moderate length. 2. A fine weevil, (an

undescribed species of Eupholus,) of rich blue and emerald green

colours, banded with black. It is a native of Ceram and Goram,

and is found on foliage. 3. A female of Xenocerus semiluctuosus,

one of the Anthribidae of delicate silky white and black colours.

It is abundant on fallen trunks and stumps in Ceram and Amboyna.

4. An undescribed species of Xenocerus; a male, with very long

and curious antenna, and elegant black and white markings. It is

found on fallen trunks in Batchian. 5. An undescribed species of

Arachnobas, a curious genus of weevils peculiar to the Moluccas

and New Guinea, and remarkable for their long legs, and their

habit of often sitting on leaves, and turning rapidly round the

edge to the under-surface when disturbed. It was found in Gilolo.

All these insects are represented of the natural size.

Like the birds, the insects of the Moluccas show a decided

affinity with those of New Guinea rather than with the

productions of the great western islands of the Archipelago, but

the difference in form and structure between the productions of

the east and west is not nearly so marked here as in birds. This

is probably due to the more immediate dependence of insects on

climate and vegetation, and the greater facilities for their

distribution in the varied stages of egg, pupa, and perfect

insect. This has led to a general uniformity in the insect-life

of the whole Archipelago, in accordance with the general

uniformity of its climate and vegetation; while on the other hand

the great susceptibility of the insect organization to the action

of external conditions has led to infinite detailed modifications

of form and colour, which have in many cases given a considerable

diversity to the productions of adjacent islands.

Owing to the great preponderance among the birds, of parrots,

pigeons, kingfishers, and sunbirds, almost all of gay or delicate

colours, and many adorned with the most gorgeous plumage, and to

the numbers of very large and showy butterflies which are almost

everywhere to be met with, the forests of the Moluccas offer to

the naturalist a very striking example of the luxuriance and

beauty of animal life in the tropics. Yet the almost entire

absence of Mammalia, and of such wide-spread groups of birds as

woodpeckers, thrushes, jays, tits, and pheasants, must convince

him that he is in a part of the world which has, in reality but

little in common with the great Asiatic continent, although an

unbroken chain of islands seems to link them to it.



(DECEMBER, 1856.)

IT was the beginning of December, and the rainy season at

Macassar had just set in. For nearly three months had beheld the

sun rise daily above the palm-groves, mount to the zenith, and

descend like a globe of fire into the ocean, unobscured for a

single moment of his course. Now dark leaden clouds had gathered

over the whole heavens, and seemed to have rendered him

permanently invisible. The strong east winds, warm and dry and

dust-laden, which had hitherto blown as certainly as the sun had

risen, were now replaced by variable gusty breezes and heavy

rains, often continuous for three days and nights together; and

the parched and fissured rice stubbles which during the dry

weather had extended in every direction for miles around the

town, were already so flooded as to be only passable by boats, or

by means of a labyrinth of paths on the top of the narrow banks

which divided the separate properties.

Five months of this kind of weather might be expected in Southern

Celebes, and I therefore determined to seek some more favourable

climate for collecting in during that period, and to return in

the next dry season to complete my exploration of the district.

Fortunately for me I was in one of the treat emporiums of the

native trade of the archipelago. Rattans from Borneo, sandal-wood

and bees'-was from Flores and Timor, tripang from the Gulf of

Carpentaria, cajputi-oil from Bouru, wild nutmegs and mussoi-bark

from New Guinea, are all to be found in the stores of the Chinese

and Bugis merchants of Macassar, along with the rice and coffee

which are the chief products of the surrounding country. More

important than all these however is the trade to Aru, a group of

islands situated on the south-west coast of New Guinea, and of

which almost the whole produce comes to Macassar in native

vessels. These islands are quite out of the track of all European

trade, and are inhabited only by black mop-headed savages, who

yet contribute to the luxurious tastes of the most civilized

races. Pearls, mother-of-pearl, and tortoiseshell find their way

to Europe, while edible birds' nests and "tripang" or sea-slug

are obtained by shiploads for the gastronomic enjoyment of the


The trade to these islands has existed from very early times, and

it is from them that Birds of Paradise, of the two kinds known to

Linnaeus were first brought The native vessels can only make the

voyage once a year, owing to the monsoons. They leave Macassar in

December or January at the beginning of the west monsoon, and

return in July or August with the full strength of the east

monsoon. Even by the Macassar people themselves, the voyage to

the Aru Islands is looked upon as a rather wild and romantic

expedition, fall of novel sights and strange adventures. He who

has made it is looked up to as an authority, and it remains with

many the unachieved ambition of their lives. I myself had hoped

rather than expected ever to reach this "Ultima Thule" of the

East: and when I found that I really could do so now, had I but

courage to trust myself for a thousand miles' voyage in a  Bugis

prau, and for six or seven months among lawless traders and

ferocious savages, I felt somewhat as I did when, a schoolboy, I

was for the first time allowed to travel outside the stage-coach,

to visit that scene of all that is strange and new and wonderful

to young imaginations-London!

By the help of some kind friends I was introduced to the owner of

one of the large praus which was to sail in a few days. He was a

Javanese half-caste, intelligent, mild, and gentlemanly in his

manners, and had a young and pretty Dutch wife, whom he was going

to leave behind during his absence. When we talked about passage

money he would fix no sum, but insisted on leaving it entirely to

me to pay on my return exactly what I liked. "And then," said he,

"whether you give me one dollar or a hundred, I shall he

satisfied, and shall ask no more."

The remainder of my stay was fully occupied in laying in stores,

engaging servants, and making every other preparation for an

absence of seven months from even the outskirts of civilization.

On the morning of December 13th, when we went on board at

daybreak, it was raining hard. We set sail and it came on to

blow. Our boat was lost astern, our sails damaged, and the

evening found us hack again in Macassar harbour. We remained

there four days longer, owing to its raining all the time, thus

rendering it impossible to dry and repair the huge mat sails. All

these dreary days I remained on board, and during the rare

intervals when it didn't rain, made myself acquainted with our

outlandish craft, some of the peculiarities of which I will now

endeavour to describe.

It was a vessel of about seventy tons burthen, and shaped

something like a Chinese junk. The deck sloped considerably

downward to the bows, which are thus the lowest part of the ship.

There were two large rudders, but instead of being planed astern

they were hung on the quarters from strong cross beams, which

projected out two or three feet on each side, and to which extent

the deck overhung the sides of the vessel amidships. The rudders

were not hinged but hung with slings of rattan, the friction of

which keeps them in any position in which they are placed, and

thus perhaps facilitates steering. The tillers were not on deck,

but entered the vessel through two square openings into a lower

or half deck about three feet high, in which sit the two

steersmen. In the after part of the vessel was a low poop, about

three and a half feet high, which forms the captain's cabin, its

furniture consisting of boxes, mats, and pillows. In front of the

poop and mainmast was a little thatched house on deck, about four

feet high to the ridge; and one compartment of this, forming a

cabin six and a half feet long by five and a half wide, I had all

to myself, and it was the snuggest and most comfortable little

place I ever enjoyed at sea. It was entered by a low sliding door

of thatch on one side, and had a very small window on the other.

The floor was of split bamboo, pleasantly elastic, raised six

inches above the deck, so as to be quite dry. It was covered with

fine cane mats, for the manufacture of which Macassar is

celebrated; against the further wall were arranged my guncase,

insect-boxes, clothes, and books; my mattress occupied the

middle, and next the door were my canteen, lamp, and little store

of luxuries for the voyage; while guns, revolver, and hunting

knife hung conveniently from the roof. During these four

miserable days I was quite jolly in this little snuggery more so

than I should have been if confined the same time to the gilded

and uncomfortable saloon of a first-class steamer. Then, how

comparatively sweet was everything on board--no paint, no tar, no

new rope, (vilest of smells to the qualmish!) no grease, or oil,

or varnish; but instead of these, bamboo and rattan, and coir

rope and palm thatch; pure vegetable fibres, which smell

pleasantly if they smell at all, and recall quiet scenes in the

green and shady forest.

Our ship had two masts, if masts they can be called c which were

great moveable triangles. If in an ordinary ship you replace the

shrouds and backstay by strong timbers, and take away the mast

altogether, you have the arrangement adopted on board a prau.

Above my cabin, and resting on cross-beams attached to the masts,

was a wilderness of yards and spars, mostly formed of bamboo. The

mainyard, an immense affair nearly a hundred feet long, was

formed of many pieces of wood and bamboo bound together with

rattans in an ingenious manner. The sail carried by this was of

an oblong shape, and was hung out of the centre, so that when the

short end was hauled down on deck the long end mounted high in

the air, making up for the lowness of the mast itself. The

foresail was of the same shape, but smaller. Both these were of

matting, and, with two jibs and a fore and aft sail astern of

cotton canvas, completed our rig.

The crew consisted of about thirty men, natives of Macassar and

the adjacent coasts and islands. They were  mostly young, and

were short, broad-faced, good-humoured looking fellows. Their

dress consisted generally of a pair of trousers only, when at

work, and a handkerchief twisted round the head, to which in the

evening they would add a thin cotton jacket. Four of the elder

men were "jurumudis," or steersmen, who had to squat (two at a

time) in the little steerage before described, changing every six

hours. Then there was an old man, the "juragan," or captain, but

who was really what we should call the first mate; he occupied

the other half of the little house on deck. There were about ten

respectable men, Chinese or Bugis, whom our owner used to call

"his own people." He treated them very well, shared his meals

with them, and spoke to them always with perfect politeness; yet

they were most of them a kind of slave debtors, bound over by the

police magistrate to work for him at mere nominal wages for a

term of years till their debts were liquidated. This is a Dutch

institution in this part of the world, and seems to work well. It

is a great boon to traders, who can do nothing in these thinly-

populated regions without trusting goods to agents and petty

dealers, who frequently squander them away in gambling and

debauchery. The lower classes are almost all in a chronic state

of debt. The merchant trusts them again and again, till the

amount is something serious, when he brings them to court and has

their services allotted to him for its liquidation. The debtors

seem to think this no disgrace, but rather enjoy their freedom

from responsibility, and the dignity of their position under a

wealthy and well-known merchant. They trade a little on their own

account, and both parties seem to get on very well together. The

plan seems a more sensible one than that which we adopt, of

effectually preventing a man from earning anything towards paying

his debts by shutting him up in a jail.

My own servants were three in number. Ali, the Malay boy whom I

had picked up in Borneo, was my head man. He had already been

with me a year, could turn his hand to anything, and was quite

attentive and trustworthy. He was a good shot, and fond of

shooting, and I had taught him to skin birds very well. The

second, named Baderoon, was a Macassar lad; also a pretty good

boy, but a desperate gambler. Under pretence of buying a house

for his mother, and clothes, for himself, he had received four

months' wages about a week before we sailed, and in a day or two

gambled away every dollar of it. He had come on board with no

clothes, no betel, or tobacco, or salt fish, all which necessary

articles I was obliged to send Ali to buy for him. These two lads

were about sixteen, I should suppose; the third was younger, a

sharp little rascal named Baso, who had been with me a month or

two, and had learnt to cook tolerably. He was to fulfil the

important office of cook and housekeeper, for I could not get any

regular servants to go to such a terribly remote country; one

might as well ask a chef de cuisine to go to Patagonia.

On the fifth day that I had spent on board (Dec. 15th) the rain

ceased, and final preparations were made for starting. Sails were

dried and furled, boats were constantly coming and going, and

stores for the voyage, fruit, vegetables, fish, and palm sugar,

were taken on board. In the afternoon two women arrived with a

large party of friends and relations, and at parting there was a

general noserubbing (the Malay kiss), and some tears shed. These

were promising symptoms for our getting off the next day; and

accordingly, at three in the morning, the owner came on board,

the anchor was immediately weighed, and by four we set sail. Just

as we were fairly off and clear of the other praus, the old

juragan repeated some prayers, all around responding with "Allah

il Allah," and a few strokes on a gong as an accompaniment,

concluding with all wishing each other "Salaamat jalan," a safe

and happy journey. We had a light breeze, a calm sea, and a fine

morning, a prosperous commencement of our voyage of about a

thousand miles to the far-famed Aru Islands.

The wind continued light and variable all day, with a calm in the

evening before the land breeze sprang up, were then passing the

island of "Tanakaki "(foot of the land), at the extreme south of

this part of Celebes. There are some dangerous rocks here, and as

I was standing by the bulwarks, I happened to spit over the side;

one of the men begged I would not do so just now, but spit on

deck, as they were much afraid of this place. Not quite

comprehending, I made him repeat his request, when, seeing he was

in earnest, I said, "Very well, I suppose there are 'hantus'

(spirits) here." "Yes," said he, "and they don't like anything to

be thrown overboard; many a prau has been lost by doing it." Upon

which I promised to be very careful. At sunset the good

Mahometans on board all repeated a few words of prayer with a

general chorus, reminding me of the pleasing and impressive "Ave.

Maria" of Catholic countries.

Dec. 20th.-At sunrise we were opposite the Bontyne mountain, said

to be one of the highest in Celebes. In the afternoon we passed

the Salayer Straits and had a little squall, which obliged us to

lower our huge mast, sails, and heavy yards. The rest of the

evening we had a fine west wind, which carried us on at near five

knots an hour, as much as our lumbering old tub can possibly go.

Dec. 21st.-A heavy swell from the south-west rolling us about

most uncomfortably. A steady wind was blowing however, and we got

on very well.

Dec. 22d.-The swell had gone down. We passed Boutong, a large

island, high, woody, and populous, the native place of some of

our crew. A small prau returning from Bali to the, island of

Goram overtook us. The nakoda (captain) was known to our owner.

They had been two years away, but were full of people, with

several black Papuans on board. At 6 P.M. we passed Wangiwangi,

low but not flat, inhabited and subject to Boutong. We had now

fairly entered the Molucca Sea. After dark it was a beautiful

sight to look down on our rudders, from which rushed eddying

streams of phosphoric light gemmed with whirling sparks of fire.

It resembled (more nearly than anything else to which I can

compare it) one of the large irregular nebulous star-clusters

seen through a good telescope, with the additional attraction of

ever-changing form and dancing motion.

Dec. 23d.-Fine red sunrise; the island we left last evening

barely visible behind us. The Goram prau about a mile south of

us. They have no compass, yet they have kept a very true course

during the night. Our owner tells me they do it by the swell of

the sea, the direction of which they notice at sunset, and sail

by it during the night. In these seas they are never (in fine

weather) more than two days without seeing land. Of course

adverse winds or currents sometimes carry them away, but they

soon fall in with some island, and there are always some old

sailors on board who know it, and thence take a new course. Last

night a shark about five feet long was caught, and this morning

it was cut up and cooked. In the afternoon they got another, and

I had a little fried, and found it firm and dry, but very

palatable. In the evening the sun set in a heavy bank of clouds,

which, as darkness came on, assumed a fearfully black appearance.

According to custom, when strong wind or rain is expected, our

large sails -were furled, and with their yards let down on deck,

and a small square foresail alone kept up. The great mat sails

are most awkward things to manage in rough weather. The yards

which support them are seventy feet long, and of course very

heavy, and the only way to furl them being to roll up the sail on

the boom, it is a very dangerous thing to have them standing when

overtaken by a squall. Our crew; though numerous enough for a

vessel of 700 instead of one of 70 tons, have it very much their

own way, and there seems to be seldom more than a dozen at work

at a time. When anything important is to be done, however, all

start up willingly enough, but then all think themselves at

liberty to give their opinion, and half a dozen voices are heard

giving orders, and there is such a shrieking and confusion that

it seems wonderful anything gets done at all.

Considering we have fifty men of several tribes and tongues

onboard, wild, half-savage looking fellows, and few of them

feeling any of the restraints of morality or education, we get on

wonderfully well. There is no fighting or quarrelling, as there

would certainly be among the same number of Europeans with as

little restraint upon their actions, and there is scarcely any of

that noise and excitement which might be expected. In fine

weather the greater part of them are quietly enjoying themselves-

-some are sleeping under the shadow of the sails; others, in

little groups of three or four, are talking or chewing betel; one

is making a new handle to his chopping-knife, another is

stitching away at a new pair of trousers or a shirt, and all are

as quiet and well-conducted as on board the best-ordered English

merchantman. Two or three take it by turns to watch in the bows

and see after the braces and halyards of the great sails; the two

steersmen are below in the steerage; our captain, or the juragan,

gives the course, guided partly by the compass and partly by the

direction of the wind, and a watch of two or three on the poop

look after the trimming of the sails and call out the hours by

the water-clock. This is a very ingenious contrivance, which

measures time well in both rough weather and fine. It is simply a

bucket half filled with water, in which floats the half of a

well-scraped cocoa-nut shell. In the bottom of this shell is a

very small hole, so that when placed to float in the bucket a

fine thread of water squirts up into it. This gradually fills the

shell, and the size of the hole is so adjusted to the capacity of

the vessel that, exactly at the end of an hour, plump it goes to

the bottom. The watch then cries out the number of hours from

sunrise and sets the shell afloat again empty. This is a very

good measurer of time. I tested it with my watch and found that

it hardly varied a minute from one hour to another, nor did the

motion of the vessel have any effect upon it, as the water in the

bucket of course kept level. It has a great advantage for a rude

people in being easily understood, in being rather bulky and easy

to see, and in the final submergence being accompanied with a

little bubbling and commotion of the water, which calls the

attention to it. It is also quickly replaced if lost while in


Our captain and owner I find to be a quiet, good-tempered man,

who seems to get on very well with all about him. When at sea he

drinks no wine or spirits, but indulges only in coffee and cakes,

morning and afternoon, in company with his supercargo and

assistants. He is a man of some little education, can read and

write well both Dutch and Malay, uses a compass, and has a chart.

He has been a trader to Aru for many years, and is well known to

both Europeans and natives in this part of the world.

Dec. 24th.-Fine, and little wind. No land in sight for the first

time since we left Macassar. At noon calm, with heavy showers, in

which our crew wash their clothes, anti in the afternoon the prau

is covered with shirts, trousers, and sarongs of various gay

colours. I made a discovery to-day which at first rather alarmed

me. The two ports, or openings, through which the tillers enter

from the lateral rudders are not more than three or four feet

above the surface of the water, which thus has a free entrance

into the vessel. I of course had imagined that this open space

from one side to the other was separated from the hold by a

water-tight bulkhead, so that a sea entering might wash out at

the further side, and do no more harm than give the steersmen a

drenching. To my surprise end dismay, however, I find that it is

completely open to the hold, so that half-a-dozen seas rolling in

on a stormy night would nearly, or quite, swamp us. Think of a

vessel going to sea for a month with two holes, each a yard

square, into the hold, at three feet above the water-line,-holes,

too, which cannot possibly be closed! But our captain says all

praus are so; and though he acknowledges the danger, "he does not

know how to alter it--the people are used to it; he does not

understand praus so well as they do, and if such a great

alteration were made, he should be sure to have difficulty in

getting a crew!" This proves at all events that praus must be

good sea-boats, for the captain has been continually making

voyages in them for the last ten years, and says he has never

known water enough enter to do any harm.

Dec.25th.-Christmas-day dawned upon us with gusts of wind,

driving rain, thunder and lightning, added to which a short

confused sea made our queer vessel pitch and roll very

uncomfortably. About nine o'clock, however, it cleared up, and we

then saw ahead of us the fine island of Bouru, perhaps forty or

fifty miles distant, its mountains wreathed with clouds, while

its lower lands were still invisible. The afternoon was fine, and

the wind got round again to the west; but although this is really

the west monsoon, there is no regularity or steadiness about it,

calms and breezes from every point of the compass continually

occurring. The captain, though nominally a Protestant, seemed to

have no idea of Christmas-day as a festival. Our dinner was of

rice and curry as usual, and an extra glass of wine was all I

could do to celebrate it.

Dec. 26th.--Fine view of the mountains of Bouru, which we have

now approached considerably. Our crew seem rather a clumsy lot.

They do not walk the deck with the easy swing of English sailors,

but hesitate and stagger like landsmen. In the night the lower

boom of our mainsail broke, and they were all the morning

repairing it. It consisted of two bamboos lashed together, thick

end to thin, and was about seventy feet long. The rigging and

arrangement of these praus contrasts strangely with that of

European vessels, in which the various ropes and spars, though

much more numerous, are placed so as not to interfere with each

other's action. Here the case is quite different; for though

there are no shrouds or stays to complicate the matter, yet

scarcely anything can be done without first clearing something

else out of the way. The large sails cannot be shifted round to

go on the other tack without first hauling down the jibs, and the

booms of the fore and aft sails have to be lowered and completely

detached to perform the same operation. Then there are always a

lot of ropes foul of each other, and all the sails can never be

set (though they are so few) without a good part of their surface

having the wind kept out of them by others. Yet praus are much

liked even by those who have had European vessels, because of

their cheapness both in first cost and in keeping up; almost all

repairs can be done by the crew, and very few European stores are


Dec. 28th.--This day we saw the Banda group, the volcano first

appearing,--a perfect cone, having very much the outline of the

Egyptian pyramids, and looking almost as regular. In the evening

the smoke rested over its summit like a small stationary cloud.

This was my first view of an active volcano, but pictures and

panoramas have so impressed such things on one's mind, that when

we at length behold them they seem nothing extraordinary.

Dec. 30th.--Passed the island of Teor, and a group near it, which

are very incorrectly marked on the charts. Flying-fish were

numerous to-day. It is a smaller species than that of the

Atlantic, and more active and elegant in its motions. As they

skim along the surface they turn on their sides, so as fully to

display their beautiful fins, taking a flight of about a hundred

yards, rising and falling in n most graceful manner. At a little

distance they exactly resemble swallows, and no one who sees them

can doubt that they really do fly, not merely descend in an

oblique direction from the height they gain by their first

spring. In the evening an aquatic bird, a species of booby (Sula

fiber.) rested on our hen-coop, and was caught by the neck by one

of my boys.

Dec. 31st,.--At daybreak the Ke Islands (pronounced Kay) were in

sight, where we are to stay a few days. About noon we rounded the

northern point, and endeavoured to coast along to the anchorage;

but being now on the leeward side of the island, the wind came in

violent irregular gusts, and then leaving us altogether, we were

carried back by a strong current. Just then two boats-load of

natives appeared, and our owner having agreed with them to tow us

into harbour, they tried to do so, assisted by our own boat, but

could make no way. We were therefore obliged to anchor in a very

dangerous place on a rocky bottom, and we were engaged till

nearly dark getting hawsers secured to some rocks under water.

The coast of Ke along which we had passed was very picturesque.

Light coloured limestone rocks rose abruptly from the water to

the height of several hundred feet, everywhere broken into

jutting peaks and pinnacles, weather-worn into sharp points and

honeycombed surfaces, and clothed throughout with a most varied

and luxuriant vegetation. The cliffs above the sea offered to our

view screw-pines and arborescent Liliaceae of strange forms,

mingled with shrubs and creepers; while the higher slopes

supported a dense growth of forest trees. Here and there little

bays and inlets presented beaches of dazzling whiteness. The

water was transparent as crystal, and tinged the rock-strewn

slope which plunged steeply into its unfathomable depths with

colours varying from emerald to lapis-lazuli. The sea was calm as

a lake, and the glorious sun of the tropics threw a flood of

golden light over all. The scene was to me inexpressibly

delightful. I was in a new world, and could dream of the

wonderful productions hid in those rocky forests, and in those

azure abysses. But few European feet had ever trodden the shores

I gazed upon its plants, and animals, and men were alike almost

unknown, and I could not help speculating on what my wanderings

there for a few days might bring to light.



(JANUARY 1857)

THE native boats that had come to meet us were three or four in

number, containing in all about fifty men.

They were long canoes, with the bow and stern rising up into a

beak six or night feet high, decorated with shells and waving

plumes of cassowaries hair. I now had my first view of Papuans in

their own country, and in less than five minutes was convinced

that the opinion already arrived at by the examination of a few

Timor and New Guinea slaves was substantially correct, and that

the people I now had an opportunity of comparing side by side

belonged to two of the most  distinct and strongly marked races

that the earth contains. Had I been blind, I could have been

certain that these islanders were not Malays. The loud, rapid,

eager tones, the incessant motion, the intense vital activity

manifested in speech and action, are the very antipodes of the

quiet, unimpulsive, unanimated Malay These Ke men came up singing

and shouting, dipping their paddles deep in the water and

throwing up clouds of spray; as they approached nearer they stood

up in their canoes and increased their noise and gesticulations;

and on coming alongside, without asking leave, and without a

moment's hesitation, the greater part of them scrambled up on our

deck just as if they were come to take possession of a captured

vessel. Then commenced a scene of indescribable confusion. These

forty black, naked, mop-headed savages seemed intoxicated with

joy and excitement. Not one of them could remain still for a

moment. Every individual of our crew was in turn surrounded and

examined, asked for tobacco or arrack, grinned at and deserted

for another. All talked at once, and our captain was regularly

mobbed by the chief men, who wanted to be employed to tow us in,

and who begged vociferously to be paid in advance. A few presents

of tobacco made their eyes glisten; they would express their

satisfaction by grins and shouts, by rolling on deck, or by a

headlong leap overboard. Schoolboys on an unexpected holiday,

Irishmen at a fair, or mid-shipmen on shore, would give but a

faint idea of the exuberant animal enjoyment of these people.

Under similar circumstances Malays could not behave as these

Papuans did. If they came on board a vessel (after asking

permission), not a word would be at first spoken, except a few

compliments, and only after some time, and very cautiously, world

any approach be made to business. One would speak at a time, with

a low voice and great deliberation, and the mode of making a

bargain would be by quietly refusing all your offers, or even

going away without saying another word about the matter, unless

advanced your price to what they were willing to accept. Our

crew, many of whom had not made the voyage before, seemed quite

scandalized at such unprecedented bad manners, and only very

gradually made any approach to fraternization with the black

fellows. They reminded me of a party of demure and well-behaved

children suddenly broken in upon by a lot of wild romping,

riotous boys, whose conduct seems most extraordinary and very

naughty. These moral features are more striking and more

conclusive of absolute diversity than oven the physical contrast

presented by the two races, though that is sufficiently

remarkable. The sooty blackness of the skin, the mop-like head of

frizzly hair, and, most important of all, the marked form of

countenance of quite a different type from that of the Malay, are

what we cannot believe to result from mere climatal or other

modifying influences on one and the same race. The Malay face is

of the Mongolian type, broad and somewhat flat. The brows are

depressed, the mouth wide, but not projecting, and the nose small

and well formed but for the great dilatation of the nostrils. The

face is smooth, and rarely develops the trace of a beard; the

hair black, coarse, and perfectly straight. The Papuan, on the

other hand, has a face which we may say is compressed and

projecting. The brows are protuberant and overhanging, the mouth

large and prominent, while the nose is very large, the apex

elongated downwards, the ridge thick, and the nostrils large. It

is an obtrusive and remarkable feature in the countenance, the

very reverse of what obtains in the Malay face. The twisted beard

and frizzly hair complete this remarkable contrast. Hero then I

had reached a new world, inhabited by a strange people. Between

the Malayan tribes, among whom I had for some years been living,

and the Papuan races, whose country I had now entered, we may

fairly say that there is as much difference, both moral and

physical, as between the red Indians of South America and the

negroes of Guinea on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

Jan. 1st, 1857.-This has been a day of thorough enjoyment. I have

wandered in the forests of an island rarely seen by Europeans.

Before daybreak we left our anchorage, and in an hour reached the

village of Har, where we were to stay three or four days. The

range of hills here receded so as to form a small bay, and they

were broken up into peaks and hummocks with intervening flats and

hollows. A broad beach of the whitest sand lined the inner part

of the bay, backed by a mass of cocoa-nut palms, among which the

huts were concealed, and surmounted by a dense and varied growth

of timber. Canoes and boats of various sizes were drawn up on the

beach and one or two idlers, with a few children and a dog, gazed

at our prau as we came to an anchor.

When we went on shore the first thing that attracted us was a

large and well-constructed shed, under which a long boat was

being built, while others in various stages of completion were

placed at intervals along the beach.  Our captain, who wanted two

of moderate size for the trade among the islands at Aru,

immediately began bargaining for them, and in a short tine had

arranged the nuns number of brass guns, gongs, sarongs,

handkerchiefs, axes, white plates, tobacco, and arrack, which he

was to give for a hair which could be got ready in four days. We

then went to the village, which consisted only of three or four

huts, situated immediately above the beach on an irregular rocky

piece of ground overshadowed with cocoa-nuts, palms, bananas, and

other fruit trees. The houses were very rude, black, and half

rotten, raised a few feet on posts with low sides of bamboo or

planks, and high thatched roofs. They had small doors and no

windows, an opening under the projecting gables letting the smoke

out and a little light in. The floors were of strips of bamboo,

thin, slippery, and elastic, and so weak that my feet were in

danger of plunging through at every step. Native boxes of

pandanus-leaves and slabs of palm pith, very neatly constructed,

mats of the same, jars and cooking pots of native pottery, and a

few European plates and basins, were the whole furniture, and the

interior was throughout dark and smoke-blackened, and dismal in

the extreme.

Accompanied by Ali and Baderoon, I now attempted to make some

explorations, and we were followed by a train of boys eager to

see what we were going to do. The most trodden path from the

beach led us into a shady hollow, where the trees were of immense

height and the undergrowth scanty. From the summits of these

trees came at intervals a deep booming sound, which at first

puzzled us, but which we soon found to proceed from some large

pigeons. My boys shot at them, and after one or two misses,

brought one down. It was a magnificent bird twenty inches long,

of a bluish white colour, with the back wings and tail intense

metallic green, with golden, blue, and violet reflexions, the

feet coral red, and the eyes golden yellow. It is a rare species,

which I have named Carpophaga concinna, and is found only in a

few small islands, where, however, it abounds. It is the same

species which in the island of Banda is called the nutmeg-pigeon,

from its habit of devouring the fruits, the seed or nutmeg being

thrown up entire and uninjured. Though these pigeons have a

narrow beak, yet their jaws and throat are so extensible that

they can swallow fruits of very large size. I had before shot a

species much smaller than this one, which had a number of hard

globular palm-fruits in its crop, each more than an inch in


A little further the path divided into two, one leading along the

beach, and across mangrove and sago swamps the other rising to

cultivated grounds. We therefore returned, and taking a fresh

departure from the village, endeavoured to ascend the hills and

penetrate into the interior. The path, however, was a most trying

one. Where there was earth, it was a deposit of reddish clay

overlying the rock, and was worn so smooth by the attrition of

naked feet that my shoes could obtain no hold on the sloping

surface. A little farther we came to the bare rock, and this was

worse, for it was so rugged and broken, and so honeycombed and

weatherworn into sharp points and angles, that my boys, who had

gone barefooted all their lives, could not stand it. Their feet

began to bleed, and I saw that if I did not want them completely

lamed it would be wise to turn lack. My own shoes, which were

rather thin, were but a poor protection, and would soon have been

cut to pieces; yet our little naked guides tripped along with the

greatest ease and unconcern, and seemed much astonished at our

effeminacy in not being able to take a walk which to them was a

perfectly agreeable one. During the rest of our stay in the

island we were obliged to confine ourselves to the vicinity of

the shore and the cultivated grounds, and those more level

portions of the forest where a little soil had accumulated and

the rock had been less exposed to atmospheric action.

The island of Ke (pronounced exactly as the letter K, but

erroneously spelt in our maps Key or Ki) is long and narrow,

running in a north and south direction, and consists almost

entirely of rock and mountain. It is everywhere covered with

luxuriant forests, and in its bays and inlets the sand is of

dazzling whiteness, resulting from the decomposition of the

coralline limestone of which it is entirely composed. In all the

little swampy inlets and valleys sago trees abound, and these

supply the main subsistence of the natives, who grow no rice, and

have scarcely any other cultivated products but cocoa-nuts,

plantains, and yams. From the cocoa-nuts, which surround every

hut, and which thrive exceedingly on the porous limestone soil

and under the influence of salt breezes, oil is made which is

sold at a good price to the Aru traders, who all touch here to

lay in their stuck of this article, as well as to purchase boats

and native crockery. Wooden bowls, pans, and trays are also

largely made here, hewn out of solid blocks of wood with knife

and adze; and these are carried to all parts of the Moluccas. But

the art in which the natives of Ke pre-eminently excel is that of

boat building. Their forests supply abundance of fine timber,

though, probably not more so than many other islands, and from

some unknown causes these remote savages have come to excel in

what seems a very difficult art. Their small canoes are

beautifully formed, broad and low in the centre, but rising at

each end, where they terminate in high-pointed beaks more or less

carved, and ornamented with a plume of feathers. They are not

hollowed out of a tree, but are regularly built of planks running

from ego to end, and so accurately fitted that it is often

difficult to find a place where a knife-blade can be inserted

between the joints. The larger ones are from 20 to 30 tons

burthen, and are finished ready for sea without a nail or

particle of iron being used, and with no other tools than axe,

adze, and auger. These vessels are handsome to look at, good

sailers, and admirable sea-boats, and will make long voyages with

perfect safety, traversing the whole Archipelago from New Guinea

to Singapore in seas which, as every one who has sailed much in

them can testify, are not so smooth and tempest-free as word-

painting travellers love to represent them.

The forests of Ke produce magnificent timber, tall, straight, and

durable, of various qualities, some of which are said to be

superior to the best Indian teak. To make each pair of planks

used in the construction of the larger boats an entire tree is

consumed. It is felled, often miles away from the shore, cut

across to the proper length, and then hewn longitudinally into

two equal portions. Each of these forms a plank by cutting down

with the axe to a uniform thickness of three or four inches,

leaving at first a solid block at each end to prevent splitting.

Along the centre of each plank a series of projecting pieces are

left, standing up three or four inches, about the same width, and

a foot long; these are of great importance in the construction of

the vessel. When a sufficient number of planks have been made,

they are laboriously dragged through the forest by three or four

men each to the beach, where the boat is to be built. A

foundation piece, broad in the middle and rising considerably at

each end, is first laid on blocks and properly shored up. The

edges of this are worked true and smooth with the adze, and a

plank, properly curved and tapering at each end, is held firmly

up against it, while a line is struck along it which allows it to

be cut so as to fit exactly. A series of auger holes, about as

large as one's finger, are then bored along the opposite edges,

and pins of very hard wood are fitted to these, so that the two

planks are held firmly, and can be driven into the closest

contact; and difficult as this seems to do without any other aid

than rude practical skill in forming each edge to the true

corresponding curves, and in poring the holes so as exactly to

match both in position and direction, yet so well is it done that

the best European shipwright cannot produce sounder or closer-

fitting joints. The boat is built up in this way by fitting plank

to plank till the proper height and width are obtained. We have

now a skin held together entirely by the hardwood pins connecting

the edges of the planks, very strong and elastic, but having

nothing but the adhesion of these pins to prevent the planks

gaping. In the smaller boats seats, in the larger ones cross-

beams, are now fixed. They are sprung into slight notches cut to

receive them, and are further secured to the projecting pieces of

the plank below by a strong lashing of rattan. Ribs are now

formed of single pieces of tough wood chosen and trimmed so as

exactly to fit on to the projections from each plank, being

slightly notched to receive them, and securely bound to them by

rattans passed through a hole in each projecting piece close to

the surface of the plank. The ends are closed against the

vertical prow and stern posts, and further secured with pegs and

rattans, and then the boat is complete; and when fitted with

rudders, masts, and thatched covering, is ready to do battle

with, the waves. A careful consideration of the principle of this

mode of construction, and allowing for the strength and binding

qualities of rattan (which resembles in these respects wire

rather than cordage), makes me believe that a vessel carefully

built in this manner is actually stronger and safer than one

fastened in the ordinary way with nails.

During our stay here we were all very busy. Our captain was daily

superintending the completion of his two small praus. All day

long native boats were coming with fish, cocoa-nuts, parrots and

lories, earthen pans, sirip leaf, wooden bowls, and trays, &c.

&e., which every one of the fifty inhabitants of our prau seemed

to be buying on his own account, till all available and most

unavailable space of our vessel was occupied with these

miscellaneous articles: for every man on board a prau considers

himself at liberty to trade, and to carry with him whatever he

can afford to buy.

Money is unknown and valueless here--knives, cloth, and arrack

forming the only medium of exchange, with tobacco for small coin.

Every transaction is the subject of a special bargain, and the

cause of much talking. It is absolutely necessary to offer very

little, as the natives are never satisfied till you add a little

more. They are then far better pleased than if you had given them

twice the amount at first and refused to increase it.

I, too, was doing a little business, having persuaded some of the

natives to collect insects for me; and when they really found

that I gave them most fragrant tobacco for worthless black and

green beetles, I soon had scores of visitors, men, women, and

children, bringing bamboos full of creeping things, which, alas!

too frequently had eaten each other into fragments during the

tedium of a day's confinement. Of one grand new beetle,

glittering with ruby and emerald tints, I got a large quantity,

having first detected one of its wing-cases ornamenting the

outside of a native's tobacco pouch. It was quite a new species,

and had not been found elsewhere than on this little island. It

is one of the Buprestidae, and has been named Cyphogastra


Each morning after an early breakfast I wandered by myself into

the forest, where I found delightful occupation in capturing the

large and handsome butterflies, which were tolerably abundant,

and most of them new to me; for I was now upon the confines of

the Moluccas and New Guinea,--a region the productions of which

were then among the most precious and rare in the cabinets of

Europe. Here my eyes were feasted for the first time with

splendid scarlet lories on the wing, as well as by the sight of

that most imperial butterfly, the "Priamus "of collectors, or a

closely allied species, but flying so high that I did not succeed

in capturing a specimen. One of them was brought me in a bamboo,

bored up with a lot of beetles, and of course torn to pieces. The

principal drawback of the place for a collector is the want of

good paths, and the dreadfully rugged character of the surface,

requiring the attention to be so continually directed to securing

a footing, as to make it very difficult to capture active winged

things, who pass out of reach while one is glancing to see that

the next step may not plunge one into a chasm or over a

precipice. Another inconvenience is that there are no running

streams, the rock being of so porous a nature that the surface-

water everywhere penetrates its fissures; at least such is the

character of the neighbourhood we visited, the only water being

small springs trickling out close to the sea-beach.

In the forests of Ke, arboreal Liliaceae and Pandanaceae abound,

and give a character to the vegetation in the more exposed rocky

places. Flowers were scarce, and there were not many orchids, but

I noticed the fine white butterfly-orchis, Phalaenopsis

grandiflora, or a species closely allied to it. The freshness and

vigour of the vegetation was very pleasing, and on such an arid

rocky surface was a sure indication of a perpetually humid

climate. Tall clean trunks, many of them buttressed, and immense

trees of the fig family, with aerial roots stretching out and

interlacing and matted together for fifty or a hundred feet above

the ground, were the characteristic features; and there was an

absence of thorny shrubs and prickly rattans, which would have

made these wilds very pleasant to roam in, had it not been for

the sharp honeycombed rocks already alluded to. In damp places a

fine undergrowth of broadleaved herbaceous plants was found,

about which swarmed little green lizards, with tails of the most

"heavenly blue," twisting in and out among the stalks and foliage

so actively that I often caught glimpses of their tails only,

when they startled me by their resemblance to small snakes.

Almost the only sounds in these primeval woods proceeded from two

birds, the red lories, who utter shrill screams like most of the

parrot tribe, and the large green nutmeg-pigeon, whose voice is

either a loud and deep boom, like two notes struck upon a very

large gong, or sometimes a harsh toad-like croak, altogether

peculiar and remarkable. Only two quadrupeds are said by the

natives to inhabit the island--a wild pig and a Cuscus, or

Eastern opossum, of neither of which could I obtain specimens.

The insects were more abundant, and very interesting. Of

butterflies I caught thirty-five species, most of them new to me,

and many quite unknown in European collections. Among them was

the fine yellow and black Papilio euchenor, of which but few

specimens had been previously captured, and several other

handsome butterflies of large size, as well as some beautiful

little "blues," and some brilliant dayflying moths. The beetle

tribe were less abundant, yet I obtained some very fine and rare

species. On the leaves of a slender shrub in an old clearing I

found several fine blue and black beetles of the genus Eupholus,

which almost rival in beauty- the diamond beetles of South

America. Some cocoa-nut palms in blossom on the beach were

frequented by a fine green floral beetle (Lomaptera which, when

the flowers were shaken, flew off like a small swarm of bees. I

got one of our crew to climb up the tree, and he brought me a

good number in his hand; and seeing they were valuable, I sent

him up again with my net to shake the flowers into, and thus

secured a large quantity. My best capture, however, was the

superb insect of the Buprestis family, already mentioned as

having been obtained from the natives, who told me they found it

in rotten trees in the mountains.

In the forest itself the only common and conspicuous coleoptera

were two tiger beetles. One, Therates labiata, was much larger

than our green tiger beetle, of a purple black colour, with green

metallic glosses, and the broad upper lip of a bright yellow. It

was always found upon foliage, generally of broad-leaned

herbaceous plants, and in damp and gloomy situations, taking

frequent short flights from leaf to leaf, and preserving an alert

attitude, as if always looking out for its prey. Its vicinity

could be immediately ascertained, often before it was seen, by a

very pleasant odour, like otto of roses, which it seems to emit

continually, and which may probably be attractive to the small

insects on which it feeds. The other, Tricondyla aptera, is one

of the most curious forms in the family of the Cicindelidae, and

is almost exclusively confined to the Malay islands. In shape it

resembles a very large ant, more than an inch long, and of a

purple black colour. Like an ant also it is wingless, and is

generally found ascending trees, passing around the trunks in a

spiral direction when approached, to avoid capture, so that it

requires a sudden run and active fingers to secure a specimen.

This species emits the usual fetid odour of the ground beetles.

My collections during our four days' stay at Ke were as follow:--

Birds, 13 species; insects, 194 species; and 3 kinds of land-


There are two kinds of people inhabiting these islands--the

indigenes, who have the Papuan characters strongly marked, and

who are pagans; and a mixed race, who are nominally Mahometans,

and wear cotton clothing, while the former use only a waist cloth

of cotton or bark. These Mahometans are said to have been driven

out of Banda by the early European settlers. They were probably a

brown race, more allied to the Malays, and their mixed

descendants here exhibit great variations of colour, hair, and

features, graduating between the Malay and Papuan types. It is

interesting to observe the influence of the early Portuguese

trade with these countries in the words of their language, which

still remain in use even among these remote and savage islanders.

"Lenco" for handkerchief, and "faca" for knife, are here used to

the exclusion of the proper Malay terms. The Portuguese and

Spaniards were truly wonderful conquerors and colonizers. They

effected more rapid changes in the countries they conquered than

any other nations of modern times, resembling the Romans in their

power of impressing their own language, religion, and manners on

rode and barbarous tribes.

The striking contrast of character between these people and the

Malays is exemplified in many little traits. One day when I was

rambling in the forest, an old man stopped to look at me catching

an insect. He stood very quiet till I had pinned and put it away

in my collecting box, when he could contain himself no longer,

but bent almost double, and enjoyed a hearty roar of laughter.

Every one will recognise this as a true negro trait. A Malay

would have stared, and asked with a tone of bewilderment what I

was doing, for it is but little in his nature to laugh, never

heartily, and still less at or in the presence of a stranger, to

whom, however, his disdainful glances or whispered remarks are

less agreeable than the most boisterous open expression of

merriment. The women here were not so much frightened at

strangers, or made to keep themselves so much secluded as among

the Malay races; the children were more merry and had the "nigger

grin," while the noisy confusion of tongues among the men, and

their excitement on very ordinary occasions, are altogether

removed from the general taciturnity and reserve of the Malay.

The language of the Ke people consists of words of one, two, or

three syllables in about equal proportions, and has many

aspirated and a few guttural sounds. The different villages have

slight differences of dialect, but they are mutually

intelligible, and, except in words that have evidently been

introduced during a long-continued commercial intercourse, seem

to have no affinity whatever with the Malay languages.

Jan. 6th.-The small boats being finished, we sailed for Aru at 4

P.M., and as we left the shores of Ke had a line view of its

rugged and mountainous character; ranges of hills, three or four

thousand feet high, stretching southwards as far as the eye could

reach, everywhere covered with a lofty, dense, and unbroken

forest. We had very light winds, and it therefore took us thirty

hours to make the passage of sixty miles to the low, or flat, but

equally forest-covered Aru Islands, where we anchored in the

harbour of Dobbo at nine in the evening of the next day.

My first voyage in a prau being thus satisfactorily terminated, I

must, before taking leave of it for some months, bear testimony

to the merits of the queer old-world vessel. Setting aside all

ideas of danger, which is probably, after all, not more than in

any other craft, I must declare that I have never, either before

or since, made a twenty days' voyage so pleasantly, or perhaps,

more correctly speaking, with so little discomfort. This I

attribute chiefly to having my small cabin on deck, and entirely

to myself, to having my own servants to wait upon me, and to the

absence of all those marine-store smells of paint, pitch, tallow,

and new cordage, which are to me insupportable. Something is also

to be put down to freedom from all restraint of dress, hours of

meals, &c., and to the civility and obliging disposition of the

captain. I had agreed to have my meals with him, but whenever I

wished it I had them in my own berth, and at what hours I felt

inclined. The crew were all civil and good-tempered, and with

very little discipline everything went on smoothly, and the

vessel was kept very clean and in pretty good order, so that on

the whole I was much delighted with the trip, and was inclined to

rate the luxuries of the semi-barbarous prau as surpassing those

of the most magnificent screw-steamer, that highest result of our





On the 8th of January, 1857, I landed at Dobbo, the trading

settlement of the Bugis and Chinese, who annually visit the Aru

Islands. It is situated on the small island of Wamma, upon a spit

of sand which projects out to the north, and is just wide enough

to contain three rows of houses. Though at first sight a most

strange and desolate-looking place to build a village on, it has

many advantages. There is a clear entrance from the west among

the coral reefs that border the land, and there is good anchorage

for vessels, on one side of the village or the other, in both the

east and west monsoons. Being fully exposed to the sea-breezes in

three directions it is healthy, and the soft sandy heath offers

great facilities for hauling up the praus, in order to secure

them from sea-worms and prepare them for the homeward voyage. At

its southern extremity the sand-bank merges in the beach of the

island, and is backed by a luxuriant growth of lofty forest. The

houses are of various sizes, but are all built after one pattern,

being merely large thatched sheds, a small portion of which, next

the entrance, is used as a dwelling, while the rest is parted

oft; and often divided by one or two floors, in order better to

stow away merchandise and native produce.

As we had arrived early in the season, most of the houses were

empty, and the place looked desolate in the extreme--the whole of

the inhabitants who received us on our landing amounting to about

half-a-dozen Bugis and Chinese. Our captain, Herr Warzbergen, had

promised to obtain a house for me, but unforeseen difficulties

presented themselves. One which was to let had no roof; and the

owner, who was building it on speculation, could not promise to

finish it in less than a month. Another, of which the owner was

dead, and which I might therefore take undisputed possession of

as the first comer, wanted considerable repairs, and no one could

be found to do the work, although about four times its value was

offered. The captain, therefore, recommended me to take

possession of a pretty good house near his own, whose owner was

not expected for some weeks; and as I was anxious to be on shore,

I immediately had it cleared out, and by evening had all my

things housed, and was regularly installed as an inhabitant of

Dobbo. I had brought with me a cane chair, and a few light

boards, which were soon rigged up into a table and shelves. A

broad bamboo bench served as sofa and bedstead, my boxes were

conveniently arranged, my mats spread on the floor, a window cut

in the palm-leaf wall to light my table, and though the place was

as miserable and gloomy a shed as could be imagined, I felt as

contented as if I had obtained a well-furnished mansion, and

looked forward to a month's residence in it with unmixed


The next morning, after an early breakfast, I set off to explore

the virgin forests of Aru, anxious to set my mind at rest as to

the treasures they were likely to yield, and the probable success

of my long-meditated expedition. A little native imp was our

guide, seduced by the gift of a German knife, value three-

halfpence, and my Macassar boy Baderoon brought his chopper to

clear the path if necessary.

We had to walk about half a mile along the beach, the ground

behind the village being mostly swampy, and then turned into the

forest along a path which leads to the native village of Wamma,

about three miles off on the other side of the island. The path

was a narrow one, and very little used, often swampy and

obstructed by fallen trees, so that after about a mile we lost it

altogether, our guide having turned back, and we were obliged to

follow his example. In the meantime, however, I had not been

idle, and my day's captures determined the success of my journey

in an entomological point of view. I had taken about thirty

species of butterflies, more than I had ever captured in a day

since leaving the prolific banks of the Amazon, and among them

were many most rare and beautiful insects, hitherto only known by

a few specimens from New Guinea. The large and handsome spectre

butterfly, Hestia durvillei; the pale-winged peacock butterfly,

Drusilla catops; and the most brilliant and wonderful of the

clear-winged moths, Cocytia durvillei, were especially

interesting, as well, as several little "blues," equalling in

brilliancy and beauty anything the butterfly world can produce.

In the other groups of insects I was not so successful, but this

was not to be wondered at in a mere exploring ramble, when only

what is most conspicuous and novel attracts the attention.

Several pretty beetles, a superb "bug," and a few nice land-

shells were obtained, and I returned in the afternoon well

satisfied with my first trial of the promised land.

The next two days were so wet and windy that there was no going

out; but on the succeeding one the sun shone brightly, and I had

the good fortune to capture one of the most magnificent insects

the world contains, the great bird-winged butterfly, Ornithoptera

Poseidon. I trembled with excitement as I saw it coming

majestically towards me, and could hardly believe I had really

succeeded in my stroke till I had taken it out of the net and was

gazing, lost in admiration, at the velvet black and brilliant

green of its wings, seven inches across, its bolder body, and

crimson breast. It is true I had seen similar insects in cabinets

at home, but it is quite another thing to capture such oneself-to

feel it struggling between one's fingers, and to gaze upon its

fresh and living beauty, a bright gem shirring out amid the

silent gloom of a dark and tangled forest. The village of Dobbo

held that evening at least one contented man.

Jan. 26th.--Having now been here a fortnight, I began to

understand a little of the place and its peculiarities. Praus

continually arrived, and the merchant population increased almost

daily. Every two or three days a fresh house was opened, and the

necessary repairs made. In every direction men were bringing in

poles, bamboos, rattans, and the leaves of the nipa palm to

construct or repair the walls, thatch, doors, and shutters of

their houses, which they do with great celerity. Some of the

arrivals were Macassar men or Bugis, but more from the small

island of Goram, at the east end of Ceram, whose inhabitants are

the petty traders of the far East. Then the natives of Aru come

in from the other side of the islands (called here "blakang

tana," or "back of the country") with the produce they have

collected during the preceding six months, and which they now

sell to the traders, to some of whom they are most likely in


Almost all, or I may safely say all, the new arrivals pay me a

visit, to see with their own eyes the unheard-of phenomenon of a

person come to stay at Dobbo who does not trade! They have their

own ideas of the uses that may possibly be made of stuffed birds,

beetles, and shells which are not the right shells--that is,

"mother-of-pearl." They every day bring me dead and broken

shells, such as l can pick up by hundreds on the beach, and seem

quite puzzled and distressed when I decline them. If, however,

there are any snail shells among a lot, I take them, and ask for

more--a principle of selection so utterly unintelligible to them,

that they give it up in despair, or solve the problem by imputing

hidden medical virtue to those which they see me preserve so


These traders are all of the Malay race, or a mixture of which

Malay is the chef ingredient, with the exception of a few

Chinese. The natives of Aru, on the other hand, are, Papuans,

with black or sooty brown skims, woolly or frizzly hair, thick-

ridged prominent noses, and rather slender limbs. Most of them

wear nothing but a waist-cloth, and a few of them may be seen all

day long wandering about the half-deserted streets of Dobbo

offering their little bit of merchandise for sale.

Living in a trader's house everything is brought to me as well as

to the rest,--bundles of smoked tripang, or "beche de mer,"

looking like sausages which have been rolled in mud and then

thrown up the chimney; dried sharks' fins, mother-of-pearl

shells, as well as birds of Paradise, which, however, are so

dirty and so badly preserved that I have as yet found no

specimens worth purchasing. When I hardly look at the articles,

and make no offer for them, they seem incredulous, and, as if

fearing they have misunderstood me, again offer them, and declare

what they want in return--knives, or tobacco, or sago, or

handkerchiefs. I then have to endeavour to explain, through any

interpreter who may be at hand, that neither tripang nor pearl

oyster shells have any charms for me, and that I even decline to

speculate in tortoiseshell, but that anything eatable I will buy-

-fish, or turtle, or vegetables of any sort. Almost the only

food, however, that we can obtain with any regularity, are fish

and cockles of very good quality, and to supply our daily wants

it is absolutely necessary to be always provided with four

articles--tobacco, knives, sago-cakes, and Dutch copper doits--

because when the particular thing asked for is not forthcoming,

the fish pass on to the next house, and we may go that day

without a dinner. It is curious to see the baskets and buckets

used here. The cockles are brought in large volute shells,

probably the Cymbium ducale, while gigantic helmet-shells, a

species of Cassis, suspended by a rattan handle, form the vessels

in which fresh water is daily carried past my door. It is painful

to a naturalist to see these splendid shells with their inner

whorls ruthlessly broken away to fit them for their ignoble use.

My collections, however, got on but slowly, owing to the

unexpectedly bad weather, violent winds with heavy showers having

been so continuous as only to give me four good collecting days

out of the first sixteen I spent here. Yet enough had been

collected to show me that with time and fine weather I might

expect to do something good. From the natives I obtained some

very fine insects and a few pretty land-shells; and of the small

number of birds yet shot more than half were known New Guinea

species, and therefore certainly rare in European collections,

while the remainder were probably new. In one respect my hopes

seemed doomed to be disappointed. I had anticipated the pleasure

of myself preparing fine specimens of the Birds of Paradise, but

I now learnt that they are all at this season out of plumage, and

that it is in September and October that they have the long

plumes of yellow silky feathers in full perfection. As all the

praus return in July, I should not be able to spend that season

in Aru without remaining another whole year, which was out of the

question. I was informed, however, that the small red species,

the "King Bird of Paradise," retains its plumage at all seasons,

and this I might therefore hope to get.

As I became familiar with the forest scenery of the island,

(perceived it to possess some characteristic features that

distinguished it from that of Borneo and Malacca, while, what is

very singular and interesting, it recalled to my mind the half-

forgotten impressions of the forests of Equatorial America. For

example, the palms were much more abundant than I had generally

found them in the East, more generally mingled with the other

vegetation, more varied in form and aspect, and presenting some

of those lofty and majestic smooth-stemmed, pinnate-leaved

species which recall the Uauassu (Attalea speciosa) of the

Amazon, but which I had hitherto rarely met with in the Malayan


In animal life the immense number and variety of spiders and of

lizards were circumstances that recalled the prolific regions of

south America, more especially the abundance and varied colours

of the little jumping spiders which abound on flowers and

foliage, and are often perfect gems of beauty. The web-spinning

species were also more numerous than I had ever seen them, and

were a great annoyance, stretching their nets across the

footpaths just about the height of my face; and the threads

composing these are so strong and glutinous as to require much

trouble to free oneself from them. Then their inhabitants, great

yellow-spotted monsters with bodies two inches long, and legs in

proportion, are not pleasant to o run one's nose against while

pursuing some gorgeous butterfly, or gazing aloft in search of

some strange-voiced bird. I soon found it necessary not only to

brush away the web, but also to destroy the spinner; for at

first, having cleared the path one day, I found the next morning

that the industrious insects had spread their nets again in the

very same places.

The lizards were equally striking by their numbers, variety, and

the situations in which they were found. The beautiful blue-

tailed species so abundant in Ke was not seen here. The Aru

lizards are more varied but more sombre in their colours--shades

of green, grey, brown, and even black, being very frequently

seen. Every shrub and herbaceous plant was alive with them, every

rotten trunk or dead branch served as a station for some of these

active little insect-hunters, who, I fear, to satisfy their gross

appetites, destroy many gems of the insect world, which would

feast the eyes and delight the heart of our more discriminating

entomologists. Another curious feature of the jungle here was the

multitude of sea-shells everywhere met with on the ground and

high up on the branches and foliage, all inhabited by hermit-

crabs, who forsake the beach to wander in the forest. I lave

actually seen a spider carrying away a good-sized shell and

devouring its (probably juvenile) tenant. On the beach, which I

had to walls along every morning to reach the forest, these

creatures swarmed by thousands. Every dead shell, from the

largest to the most minute, was appropriated by them. They formed

small social parties of ten or twenty around bits of stick or

seaweed, but dispersed hurriedly at the sound of approaching

footsteps. After a windy night, that nasty-looking Chinese

delicacy the sea-slug was sometimes thrown up on the beach, which

was at such times thickly strewn with some of the most beautiful

shells that adorn our cabinets, along with fragments and masses

of coral and strange sponges, of which I picked up more than

twenty different sorts. In many cases sponge and coral are so

much alike that it is only on touching them that they can be

distinguished. Quantities of seaweed, too, are thrown up; but

strange as it may seem, these are far less beautiful and less

varied than may be found on any favourable part of our own


The natives here, even those who seem to be of pare Papuan race,

were much more reserved and taciturn than those of Ke. This is

probably because I only saw them as yet among strangers and in

small parties, One must see the savage at home to know what he

really is. Even here, however, the Papuan character sometimes

breaks out. Little boys sing cheerfully as they walk along, or

talk aloud to themselves (quite a negro characteristic); and try

all they can, the men cannot conceal their emotions in the true

Malay fashion. A number of them were one day in my house, and

having a fancy to try what sort of eating tripang would be, I

bought a couple, paying for them with such an extravagant

quantity of tobacco that the seller saw I was a green customer.

He could not, however, conceal his delight, but as he smelt the

fragrant weed, and exhibited the large handful to his companions,

he grinned and twisted and gave silent chuckles in a most

expressive pantomime. I had often before made the same mistake in

paying a Malay for some trifle. In no case, however, was his

pleasure visible on his countenance--a dull and stupid hesitation

only showing his surprise, which would be exhibited exactly in

the same way whether he was over or under paid. These little

moral traits are of the greatest interest when taken in connexion

with physical features. They do not admit of the same ready

explanation by external causes which is so frequently applied to

the latter. Writers on the races of mankind have too often to

trust to the information of travellers who pass rapidly from

country to country, and thus have few opportunities of becoming

acquainted with peculiarities of national character, or even of

ascertaining what is really the average physical conformation of

the people. Such are exceedingly apt to be deceived in places

where two races have long, intermingled, by looking on

intermediate forms and mixed habits as evidences of a natural

transition from one race to the other, instead of an artificial

mixture of two distinct peoples; and they will be the more

readily led into this error if, as in the present case, writers

on the subject should have been in the habit of classing these

races as mere varieties of one stock, as closely related in

physical conformation as from their geographical proximity one

might suppose they ought to be. So far as I have yet seen, the

Malay and Papuan appear to be as widely separated as any two

human races that exist, being distinguished by physical, mental,

and moral characteristics, all of the most marked and striking


Feb 5th.--I took advantage of a very fine calm day to pay a visit

to the island of Wokan, which is about a mile from us, and forms

part of the "canna busar," or mainland of Aru. This is a large

island, extending from north to south about a hundred miles, but

so low in many parts as to be intersected by several creeks,

which run completely through it, offering a passage for good-

sized vessels. On the west side, where we are, there are only a

few outlying islands, of which ours (Wamma) is the principal; but

on the east coast are a great number of islands, extending some

miles beyond the mainland, and forming the "blakang tang," or

"back country," of the traders, being the principal seat of the

pearl, tripang, and tortoiseshell fisheries. To the mainland many

of the birds and animals of the country are altogether confined;

the Birds of paradise, the black cockatoo, the great brush-

turkey, and the cassowary, are none of them found on Wamma or any

of the detached islands. I did not, however, expect in this

excursion to see any decided difference in the forest or its

productions, and was therefore agreeably surprised. The beach was

overhung with the drooping branches of lame trees, loaded with

Orchideae, ferns, and other epiphytal plants. In the forest there

was more variety, some parts being dry, and with trees of a lower

growth, while in others there were some of the most beautiful

palms I have ever seen, with a perfectly straight, smooth,

slender stem, a hundred feet high, and a crown of handsome

drooping leaves. But the greatest novelty and most striking

feature to my eyes were the tree-ferns, which, after seven years

spent in the tropics, I now saw in perfection for the first time.

All I had hitherto met with were slender species, not more than

twelve feet high, and they gave not the least idea of the supreme

beauty of trees bearing their elegant heads of fronds more than

thirty feet in the air, like those which were plentifully

scattered about this forest. There is nothing in tropical

vegetation so perfectly beautiful.

My boys shot five sorts of birds, none of which we had obtained

during a month's shooting in Wamma. Two were very pretty

flycatchers, already known from New Guinea; one of them (Monarcha

chrysomela), of brilliant black and bright orange colours, is by

some authors considered to be the most beautiful of all

flycatchers; the other is pure white and velvety black, with a

broad fleshy ring round the eye of are azure blue colour; it is

named the "spectacled flycatcher" (Monarcha telescopthalma), and

was first found in New Guinea, along with the other, by the

French naturalists during the voyage of the discovery-ship


Feb. 18th.--Before leaving Macassar, I had written to the

Governor of Amboyna requesting him to assist me with the native

chiefs of Aru. I now received by a

vessel which had arrived from Amboyna a very polite answer

informing me that orders had been sent to give me every

assistance that I might require; and I was just congratulating

myself on being at length able to get a boat and men to go to the

mainland and explore the interior, when a sudden check carne in

the form of a piratical incursion. A small prau arrived which had

been attacked by pirates and had a man wounded. They were said to

have five boats, but more were expected to be behind and the

traders were all in consternation, fearing that their small

vessels sent trading to the "blakang tana" would be plundered.

The Aru natives were of course  dreadfully alarmed, as these

marauders attack their villages, burn and murder, and carry away

women and children for slaves. Not a man will stir from his

village for some time, and I must remain still a prisoner in

Dobbo. The Governor of Amboyna, out of pure kindness, has told

the chiefs that they are to be responsible for my safety, so that

they have au excellent excuse for refusing to stir.

Several praus went out in search of the pirates, sentinels were

appointed, and watch-fires lighted on the beach to guard against

the possibility of a night attack, though it was hardly thought

they would be bold enough to attempt to plunder Dobbo. The next

day the praus returned, and we had positive information that

these scourges of the Eastern seas were really among us. One of

Herr Warzbergen's small praus also arrived in a sad plight. It

had been attacked six days before, just as it was returning, from

the "blakang tana." The crew escaped in their small boat and hid

in the jungle, while the pirates came up and plundered the

vessel. They took away everything but the cargo of mother-of-

pearl shell, which was too bulky for them. All the clothes and

boxes of the men, and the sails and cordage of the prau, were

cleared off. They had four large war boats, and fired a volley of

musketry as they came up, and sent off their small boats to the

attack. After they had left, our men observed from their

concealment that three had stayed behind with a small boat; and

being driven to desperation by the sight of the plundering, one

brave fellow swam off armed only with his parang, or chopping-

knife, and coming on them unawares made a desperate attack,

killing one and wounding the other two, receiving himself numbers

of slight wounds, and then swimming off again when almost

exhausted. Two other prams were also plundered, and the crew of

one of them murdered to a man. They are said to be Sooloo

pirates, but have Bugis among them. On their way here they have

devastated one of the small islands east of Ceram. It is now

eleven years since they have visited Aru, and by thus making

their attacks at long and uncertain intervals the alarm dies

away, and they find a population for the most part unarmed and

unsuspicious of danger. None of the small trading vessels now

carry arms, though they did so for a year or two after the last

attack, which was just the time when there was the least occasion

for it. A week later one of the smaller pirate boats was captured

in the "blakang tana." Seven men were killed and three taken

prisoners. The larger vessels have been often seen but cannot be

caught, as they have very strong crews, and can always escape by

rowing out to sea in the eye of the wind, returning at night.

They will thus remain among the innumerable islands and channels,

till the change of the monsoon enables them to sail westward.

March 9th.-For four or five days we have had a continual gale of

wind, with occasional gusts of great fury, which seem as if they

would send Dobbo into the sea. Rain accompanies it almost every

alternate hour, so that it is not a pleasant time. During such

weather I can do little, but am busy getting ready a boat I have

purchased, for an excursion into the interior. There is immense

difficulty about men, but I believe the "Orang-kaya," or head man

of Wamma,  will accompany me to see that I don't run into danger.

Having become quite an old inhabitant of Dobbo, I will endeavour

to sketch the sights and sounds that pervade it, and the manners

and customs of its inhabitants. The place is now pretty full, and

the streets present a far more cheerful aspect than when we first

arrived. Every house is a store, where the natives barter their

produce for what they are most in need of. Knives, choppers,

swords, guns, tobacco, gambier, plates, basins, handkerchiefs,

sarongs, calicoes, and arrack, are the principal articles wanted

by the natives; but some of the stores contain also tea, coffee,

sugar, wine, biscuits, &c., for the supply of the traders; and

others are full of fancy goods, china ornaments, looking-glasses,

razors, umbrellas, pipes, and purses, which take the fancy of the

wealthier natives. Every fine day mats are spread before the

doors and the tripang is put out to dry, as well as sugar, salt,

biscuit, tea, cloths, and other things that get injured by an

excessively moist atmosphere. In the morning and evening, spruce

Chinamen stroll about or chat at each other's doors, in blue

trousers, white jacket, and a queue into which red silk is

plaited till it reaches almost to their heels. An old Bugis hadji

regularly takes an evening stroll in all the dignity of flowing

green silk robe and gay turban, followed by two small boys

carrying his sirih and betel boxes.

In every vacant space new houses are being built, and all sorts

of odd little cooking-sheds are erected against the old ones,

while in some out-of-the-way corners, massive log pigsties are

tenanted by growing porkers; for how can the Chinamen exist six

months without one feast of pig?

Here and there are stalls where bananas are sold, and every

morning two little boys go about with trays of sweet rice and

crated cocoa-nut, fried fish, or fried plantains; and whichever

it may be, they have but one cry, and that is

"Chocolat-t--t!" This must be a Spanish or Portuguese cry, handed

down for centuries, while its meaning has been lost. The Bugis

sailors, while hoisting the main sail, cry out, "Vela a vela,--

vela, vela, vela!" repeated in an everlasting chorus. As "vela"

is Portuguese a sail, I supposed I had discovered the origin of

this, but I found afterwards they used the same cry when heaving

anchor, and often chanted it to "hela," which is so much an

universal expression of exertion and hard breathing that it is

most probably a mere interjectional cry.

I daresay there are now near five hundred people in Dobbo of

various races, all met in this remote corner of the East, as they

express it, "to look for their fortune;" to get money any way

they can. They are most of them people who have the very worst

reputation for honesty as well as every other form of morality,--

Chinese, Bugis, Ceramese, and half-caste Javanese, with a

sprinkling of half-wild Papuans from Timor, Babber, and other

islands, yet all goes on as yet very quietly. This motley,

ignorant, bloodthirsty, thievish population live here without the

shadow of a government, with no police, no courts, and no

lawyers; yet they do not cut each other's throats, do not plunder

each other day and night, do not fall into the anarchy such a

state of things might be supposed to lead to. It is very

extraordinary! It puts strange thoughts into one's head about the

mountain-load of government under which people exist in Europe,

and suggests the idea that we may be over-governed. Think of the

hundred Acts of Parliament annually enacted to prevent us, the

people of England, from cutting each other's throats, or from

doing to our neighbour as we would not be done by. Think of the

thousands of lawyers and barristers whose whole lives are spent

in telling us what the hundred Acts of Parliament mean, and one

would be led to infer that if Dobbo has too little law England

has too much.

Here we may behold in its simplest form the genius of Commerce at

the work of Civilization. Trade is the magic that keeps all at

peace, and unites these discordant elements into a well-behaved

community. All are traders, and know that peace and order are

essential to successful trade, and thus a public opinion is

created which puts down all lawlessness. Often in former year,

when strolling along the Campong Glam in Singapore, I have

thought how wild and ferocious the Bugis sailors looked, and how

little should like to trust myself among them. But now I find

them to be very decent, well-behaved fellows; I walk daily

unarmed in the jungle, where I meet them continually; I sleep in

a palm-leaf hut, which any one may enter, with as little fear and

as little danger of thieves or murder as if I were under the

protection of the Metropolitan police. It is true the Dutch

influence is felt here. The islands are nominally under the

government of the Moluccas, which the native chiefs acknowledge;

and in most years a commissioner arrives from Amboyna, who makes

the tour of the islands, hears complaints, settle disputes, and

carries away prisoner any heinous offender. This year he is not

expected to come, as no orders have yet been received to prepare

for him; so the people of Dobbo will probably be left to their

own devices. One day a man was caught in the act of stealing a

piece of iron from Herr Warzbergen's house, which he had entered

by making a hole through the thatch wall. In the evening the

chief traders of the place, Bugis and Chinese, assembled, the

offender was tried and found guilty, and sentenced

to receive twenty lashes on the spot. They were given with a

small rattan in the middle of the street, not very severely, the

executioner appeared to sympathise a little with the culprit. The

disgrace seemed to be thought as much of as the pain; for though

any amount of clever cheating is thought rather meritorious than

otherwise, open robbery and housebreaking meet with universal




(MARCH TO MAY 1857.)

MY boat was at length ready, and having obtained two men besides

my own servants, after an enormous amount of talk and trouble, we

left Dobbo on the morning of March 13th, for the mainland of Aru.

By noon we reached the mouth of a small river or creek, which we

ascended, winding among mangrove, swamps, with here and there a

glimpse of dry land. In two hours we reached a house, or rather

small shed, of the most miserable description, which our

steersman, the "Orang-kaya" of Wamma, said was the place we were

to stay at, and where he had assured me we could get every kind

of bird and beast to be found in Aru. The shed was occupied by

about a dozen men, women, and children; two cooking fires were

burning in it, and there seemed little prospect of my obtaining

any accommodation. I however deferred inquiry till I had seen the

neighbouring forest, and immediately started off with two men,

net, and guns, along a path at the back of the house. In an

hour's walk I saw enough to make me determine to give the place a

trial, and on my return, finding the "Orang-kaya" was in a strong

fever-fit and unable to do anything, I entered into negotiations

with the owner of the house for the use of a slip at one end of

it about five feet wide, for a week, and agreed to pay as rent

one "parang," or chopping-knife. I then immediately got my boxes

and bedding out of the boat, hung up a shelf for my bird-skins

and insects, and got all ready for work next morning. My own boys

slept in the boat to guard the remainder of my property; a

cooking place sheltered by a few mats was arranged under a tree

close by, and I felt that degree of satisfaction and enjoyment

which I always experience when, after much trouble and delay, I

am on the point of beginning work in a new locality.

One of my first objects was to inquire for the people who are

accustomed to shoot the Paradise birds. They lived at some

distance in the jungle, and a man was sent to call them. When

they arrived, we had a talk by means of the "Orang-kaya "as

interpreter, and they said they thought they could get some. They

explained that they shoot the birds with a bow and arrow, the

arrow having a conical wooden cap fitted to the end as large as a

teacup, so as to kill the bird by the violence of the blow

without making any wound or shedding any blood. The trees

frequented by the birds are very lofty; it is therefore necessary

to erect a small leafy covering or hut among the branches, to

which the hunter mounts before daylight in the morning and

remains the whole day, and whenever a bird alights they are

almost sure of securing it. (See Frontispiece.) They returned to

their homes the same evening, and I never saw anything more of

them, owing, as I afterwards found, to its being too early to

obtain birds in good plumage.

The first two or three days of our stay here were very wet, and I

obtained but few insects or birds, but at length, when I was

beginning to despair, my boy Baderoon returned one day with a

specimen which repaid me for months of delay and expectation. It

was a small bird a little less than a thrush. The greater part of

its plumage was of an intense cinnabar red, with a gloss as of

spun glass. On the head the feathers became short and velvety,

and shaded into rich orange. Beneath, from the breast downwards,

was pure white, with the softness and gloss of silk, and across

the breast a band of deep metallic green separated this colour

from the red of the throat. Above each eye was a round spot of

the same metallic green; the bill was yellow, and the feet and

legs were of a fine cobalt 111e, strikingly contrasting with all

the other parts of the body. Merely in arrangement of colours and

texture of plumage this little bird was a gem of the first water,

yet there comprised only half its strange beauty.  Springing from

each side of the breast, and ordinarily lying concealed under the

wings, were little tufts of greyish feathers about two inches

long, and each terminated by a broad band of intense emerald

green. These plumes can be raised at the will of the bird, and

spread out into a pair of elegant fans when the wings are

elevated. But this is not the only ornament. The two middle

feathers of the tail are in the form of slender wires about five

inches long, and which diverge in a beautiful double curve. About

half an inch of the end of this wire is webbed on the outer side

only, awe coloured of a fine metallic green, and being curled

spirally inwards form a pair of elegant glittering buttons,

hanging five inches below the body, and the same distance apart.

These two ornaments, the breast fans and the spiral tipped tail

wires, are altogether unique, not occurring on any other species

of the eight thousand different birds that are known to exist

upon the earth; and, combined with the most exquisite beauty of

plumage, render this one of the most perfectly lovely of the many

lovely productions of nature. My transports of admiration and

delight quite amused my Aru hosts, who saw nothing more in the

"Burong raja" than we do in the robin of the goldfinch.

Thus one of my objects in coming to the far fast was

accomplished. I had obtained a specimen of the King Bird of

Paradise (Paradisea regia), which had been described by Linnaeus

from skins preserved in a mutilated state by the natives. I knew

how few Europeans had ever beheld the perfect little organism I

now gazed upon, and how very imperfectly it was still known in

Europe. The emotions excited in the minds of a naturalist, who

has long desired to see the actual thing which he has hitherto

known only by description, drawing, or badly-preserved external

covering--especially when that thing is of surpassing rarity and

beauty, require the poetic faculty fully to express them. The

remote island in which I found myself situated, in an almost

unvisited sea, far from the tracks of merchant fleets and navies;

the wild luxuriant tropical forest, which stretched far away on

every side; the rude uncultured savages who gathered round me,--

all had their influence in determining the emotions with which I

gazed upon this "thing of beauty." I thought of the long ages of

the past, during which the successive generations of this little

creature had run their course--year by year being born, and

living and dying amid these dark and gloomy woods, with no

intelligent eye to gaze upon their loveliness; to all appearance

such a wanton waste of beauty. Such ideas excite a feeling of

melancholy. It seems sad, that on the one hand such exquisite

creatures should live out their lives and exhibit their charms

only in these wild inhospitable regions, doomed for ages yet to

come to hopeless barbarism; while on the other hand, should

civilized man ever reach these distant lands, and bring moral,

intellectual, and physical light into the recesses of these

virgin forests, we may be sure that he will so disturb the

nicely-balanced relations of organic and inorganic nature as to

cause the disappearance, and finally the extinction, of these

very beings whose wonderful structure and beauty he alone is

fitted to appreciate and enjoy. This consideration must surely

tell us that all living things were _not_ made for man. Many of

them have no relation to him. The cycle of their existence has

gone on independently of his, and is disturbed or broken by every

advance in man's intellectual development; and their happiness

and enjoyment, their loves and hates, their struggles for

existence, their vigorous life and early death, would seem to be

immediately related to their own well-being and perpetuation

alone, limited only by the equal well-being and perpetuation of

the numberless other organisms with which each is more or less

intimately connected.

After the first king-bird was obtained, I went with my men into

the forest, and we were not only rewarded with another in equally

perfect plumage, but I was enabled to see a little of the habits

of both it and the larger species. It frequents the lower trees

of the less dense forests: and is very active, flying strongly

with a whirring sound, and continually hopping or flying from

branch to branch. It eats hard stone-bearing fruits as large as a

gooseberry, and often flutters its wings after the manner of the

South American manakins, at which time it elevates and expands

the beautiful fans with which its breast is adorned. The natives

of Aru call it "Goby-goby."

One day I get under a tree where a number of the Great Paradise

birds were assembled, but they were high up in the thickest of

the foliage, and flying and jumping about so continually that I

could get no good view of them. At length I shot one, but it was

a young specimen, and was entirely of a rich chocolate-brown

colour, without either the metallic green throat or yellow plumes

of the full-grown bird. All that I had yet seen resembled this,

and the natives told me that it would be about two months before

any would be found in full plumage. I still hoped, therefore, to

get some. Their voice is most extraordinary. At early morn,

before the sun has risen, we hear a loud cry of "Wawk-wawk-wawk,

wk-wk-wk," which resounds through the forest, changing its

direction continually. This is the Great Bird of Paradise going

to seek his breakfast. Others soon follow his example; lories and

parroquets cry shrilly, cockatoos scream, king-hunters croak and

bark, and the various smaller birds chirp and whistle their

morning song. As I lie listening to these interesting sounds, I

realize my position as the first European who has ever lived for

months together in the Aru islands, a place which I had hoped

rather than expected ever to visit. I think how many besides my

self have longed to reach these almost fairy realms, and to see

with their own eyes the many wonderful and beautiful things which

I am daily encountering. But now Ali and Baderoon are up and

getting ready their guns and ammunition, and little Brio has his

fire lighted and is boiling my coffee, and I remember that I had

a black cockatoo brought in late last night, which I must skin

immediately, and so I jump up and begin my day's work very


This cockatoo is the first I have seen, and is a great prize. It

has a rather small and weak body, long weak legs, large wings,

and an enormously developed head, ornamented with a magnificent

crest, and armed with a sharp-pointed hoofed bill of immense size

and strength. The plumage is entirely black, but has all over it

the curious powdery white secretion characteristic of cockatoo.

The cheeks are bare, and of an intense blood-red colour. Instead

of the harsh scream of the white cockatoos, its voice is a

somewhat plaintive whistle. The tongue is a curious organ, being

a slender fleshy cylinder of a deep red colour, terminated by a

horny black plate, furrowed across and somewhat prehensile. The

whole tongue has a considerable extensile power. I will here

relate something of the habits of this bird, with which I have

since become acquainted. It frequents the lower parts of the

forest, and is seen singly, or at most two or three together. It

flies slowly and noiselessly, and may be killed by a

comparatively slight wound. It eats various fruits arid seeds,

but seems more particularly attached to the kernel of the kanary-

nut, which grows on a lofty forest tree (Canarium commune),

abundant in the islands where this bird is found; and the manner

in which it gets at these seeds shows a correlation of structure

and habits, which would point out the "kanary" as its special

food. The shell of this nut is so excessively hard that only a

heavy hammer will crack it; it is somewhat triangular, and the

outside is quite smooth. The manner in which the bird opens these

nuts is very curious. Taking one endways in its bill and keeping

it firm by a pressure of the tongue, it cuts a transverse notch

by a lateral sawing motion of the sharp-edged lower mandible.

This done, it takes hold of the nut with its foot, and biting off

a piece of leaf retains it in the deep notch of the upper

mandible, and again seizing the nut, which is prevented from

slipping by the elastic tissue of the leaf, fixes the edge of the

lower mandible in the notch, and by a powerful nip breaks of a

piece of the shell. again taking the nut in its claws, it inserts

the very long and sharp point of the bill and picks out the

kernel, which is seized hold of, morsel by morsel, by the

extensible tongue. Thus every detail of form. and structure in

the extraordinary bill of this bird seems to have its use, and we

may easily conceive that the black cockatoos have maintained

themselves in competition with their more active and more

numerous white allies, by their power of existing on a kind of

food which no other bird is able to extract from its stony shell.

The species is the Microglossum aterrimum of naturalists.

During the two weeks which I spent in this little settlement, I

had good opportunities of observing the natives at their own

home, and living in their usual manner. There is a great monotony

and uniformity in everyday savage life, and it seemed to me a

more miserable existence than when it had the charm of novelty.

To begin with the most important fact in the existence of

uncivilized peoples--their food--the Aru men have no regular

supply, no staff of life, such as bread, rice, mandiocca, maize,

or sago, which are the daily food of a large proportion of

mankind. They have, however, many sorts of vegetables, plantains,

yams, sweet potatoes, and raw sago; and they chew up vast

quantities of sugar-cane, as well as betel-nuts, gambir, and

tobacco. Those who live on the coast have plenty of fish; but

when inland, as we are here, they only go to the sea

occasionally, and then bring home cockles and other shell-fish by

the boatload. Now and then they get wild pig or kangaroo, but too

rarely to form anything like a regular part of their diet, which

is essentially vegetable; and what is of more importance, as

affecting their health, green, watery vegetables, imperfectly

cooked, and even these in varying and often in sufficient

quantities. To this diet may be attributed the prevalence of skin

diseases, and ulcers on the legs and joints. The scurfy skin

disease so common among savages has a close connexion with the

poorness and irregularity of their living. The Malays, who are

never without their daily rice, are generally free from it; the

hill-Dyaks of Borneo, who grow rice and live well, are clean

skinned while the less industrious and less cleanly tribes, who

live for a portion of the year on fruits and vegetables only, are

very subject to this malady. It seems clear that in this, as in

other respects, man is not able to make a beast of himself with

impunity, feeding like the cattle on the herbs and fruits of the

earth, and taking no thought of the morrow. To maintain his

health and beauty he must labour to prepare some farinaceous

product capable of being stored and accumulated, so as to give

him a regular supply of wholesome food. When this is obtained, he

may add vegetables, fruits, and meat with advantage.

The chief luxury of the Aru people, besides betel and tobacco, is

arrack (Java rum), which the traders bring in great quantities

and sell very cheap. A day's fishing or rattan cutting will

purchase at least a half-gallon bottle; and when the tripang or

birds' nests collected during a season are sold, they get whole

boxes, each containing fifteen such bottles, which the inmates of

a house will sit round day and night till they have finished.

They themselves tell me that at such bouts they often tear to

pieces the house they are in, break and destroy everything they

can lay their hands on, and make such an infernal riot as is

alarming to behold.

The houses and furniture are on a par with the food. A rude shed,

supported on rough and slender sticks rather than posts, no

walls, but the floor raised to within a foot of the eaves, is the

style of architecture they usually adopt. Inside there are

partition walls of thatch, forming little boxes or sleeping

places, to accommodate the two or three separate families that

usually live together. A few mats, baskets, and cooking vessels,

with plates and basins purchased from the Macassar traders,

constitute their whole furniture; spears and bows are their

weapons; a sarong or mat forms the clothing of the women, a

waistcloth of the men. For hours or even for days they sit idle

in their houses, the women bringing in the vegetables or sago

which form their food. Sometimes they hunt or fish a little, or

work at their houses or canoes, but they seem to enjoy pure

idleness, and work as little as they can. They have little to

vary the monotony of life, little that can be called pleasure,

except idleness and conversation. And they certainly do talk!

Every evening there is a little Babel around me: but as I

understand not a word of it, I go on with my book or work

undisturbed. Now and then they scream and shout, or laugh

frantically for variety; and this goes on alternately with

vociferous talking of men, women, and children, till long after I

am in my mosquito curtain and sound asleep.

At this place I obtained some light on the complicated mixture of

races in Aru, which would utterly confound an ethnologist. Many

of the, natives, though equally dark with the others, have little

of the Papuan physiognomy, but have more delicate features of the

European type, with more glossy, curling hair: These at first

quite puzzled me, for they have no more resemblance to Malay than

to Papuan, and the darkness of skin and hair would forbid the

idea of Dutch intermixture. Listening to their conversation,

however, I detected some words that were familiar to me. "Accab"

was one; and to be sure that it was not an accidental

resemblance, I asked the speaker in Malay what "accab" meant,

and was told it meant "done or finished," a true Portuguese word,

with its meaning retained. Again, I heard the word "jafui" often

repeated, and could see, without inquiry, that its meaning was

"he's gone," as in Portuguese. "Porco," too, seems a common name,

though the people have no idea of its European meaning. This

cleared up the difficulty. I at once understood that some early

Portuguese traders had penetrated to these islands, and mixed

with the natives, influencing their language, and leaving in

their descendants for many generations the visible

characteristics of their race. If to this we add the occasional

mixture of Malay, Dutch, and Chinese with the indigenous Papuans,

we have no reason to wonder at the curious varieties of form and

feature occasionally to be met with in Aru. In this very house

there was a Macassar man, with an Aru wife and a family of mixed

children. In Dobbo I saw a Javanese and an Amboyna man, each with

an Aru wife and family; and as this kind of mixture has been

going on for at least three hundred years, and probably much

longer, it has produced a decided effect on the physical

characteristics of a considerable portion of the population of

the islands, more especially in Dobbo and the parts nearest to


March 28th.--The "Orang-kaya" being very ill with fever had

begged to go home, and had arranged with one of the men of the

house to go on with me as his substitute. Now that I wanted to

move, the bugbear of the pirates was brought up, and it was

pronounced unsafe to go further than the next small river. This

world not suit me, as I had determined to traverse the channel

called Watelai to the "blakang-tana;" but my guide was firm in

his dread of pirates, of which I knew there was now no danger, as

several vessels had gone in search of them, as well as a Dutch

gunboat which had arrived since I left Dobbo. I had, fortunately,

by this time heard that the Dutch "Commissie" had really arrived,

and therefore threatened that if my guide did not go with me

immediately, I would appeal to the authorities, and he would

certainly be obliged to gig a back the cloth which the "Orang-

kaya" had transferred to him in prepayment. This had the desired

effect; matters were soon arranged, and we started the next

morning. The wind, however, was dead against us, and after rowing

hard till midday we put in to a small river where there were few

huts, to cook our dinners. The place did not look very promising,

but as we could not reach our destination, the Watelai river,

owing to the contrary wind, I thought we might as well wait here

a day or two. I therefore paid a chopper for the use of a small

shed, and got my bed and some boxes on shore. In the evening,

after dark, we were suddenly alarmed by the cry of "Bajak!

bajak!" (Pirates!) The men all seized their bows and spears, and

rushed down to the beach; we got hold of our guns and prepared

for action, but in a few minutes all came back laughing and

chattering, for it had proved to be only a small boat and some of

their own comrades returned from fishing. When all was quiet

again, one of the men, who could speak a little Malay, came to me

and begged me not to sleep too hard. "Why?" said I. "Perhaps the

pirates may really come," said he very seriously, which made me

laugh and assure him I should sleep as hard as I could.

Two days were spent here, but the place was unproductive of

insects or birds of interest, so we made another attempt to get

on. As soon as we got a little away from the land we had a fair

wind, and in six hours' sailing reached the entrance of the

Watelai channel, which divides the most northerly from the middle

portion of Aru. At its mouth this was about half a mile wide, but

soon narrowed, and a mile or two on it assumed entirely the

aspect of a river about the width of the Thames at London,

winding among low but undulating and often hilly country. The

scene was exactly such as might be expected in the interior of a

continent. The channel continued of a uniform average width, with

reaches and sinuous bends, one bank being often precipitous, or

even forming vertical cliffs, while the other was flat and

apparently alluvial; and it was only the pure salt-water, and the

absence of any stream but the slight flux and reflux of the tide,

that would enable a person to tell that he was navigating a

strait and not a river. The wind was fair, and carried us along,

with occasional assistance from our oars, till about three in the

afternoon, when we landed where a little brook formed two or

three basins in the coral rock, and then fell in a miniature

cascade into the salt water river. Here we bathed and cooked our

dinner, and enjoyed ourselves lazily till sunset, when we pursued

our way for two hours snore, and then moored our little vessel to

an overhanging tree for the night.

At five the next morning we started again, and in an hour

overtook four large praus containing the "Commissie," who had

come from Dobbo to make their official tour round the islands,

and had passed us in the eight. I paid a visit to the Dutchmen,

one of whom spoke a little English, but we found that we could

get on much better with Malay. They told me that they had been

delayed going after the pirates to one of the northern islands,

and had seen three of their vessels but could not catch them,

because on being pursued they rowed out in the wind's eye, which

they are enabled to do by having about fifty oars to each boat.

Having had some tea with thorn, I bade them adieu, and turned up

a narrow channel which our pilot said would take us to the

village of Watelai, on the west side- of Are. After going some

miles we found the channel nearly blocked up with coral, so that

our boat grated along the bottom, crunching what may truly be

called the living rock. Sometimes all hands had to get out and

wade, to lighten the vessel and lift it over the shallowest

places; but at length we overcame all obstacles and reached a

wide bay or estuary studded with little rocks and islets, and

opening to the western sea and the numerous islands of the

"blakang-tuna." I now found that the village we were going to was

miles away; that we should have to go out to sea, and round a

rocky point. A squall seemed coming on, and as I have a horror of

small boats at sea, and from all I could learn Watelai village

was not a place to stop at (no birds of Paradise being found

there), I determined to return and go to a village I had heard of

up a tributary of the Watelai river, and situated nearly in the

centre of the mainland of Aru. The people there were said to be

good, and to be accustomed to hunting and bird-catching, being

too far inland to get any part of their food from the sea. While

I was deciding this point the squall burst upon us, and soon

raised a rolling sea in the shallow water, which upset an oil

bottle and a lamp, broke some of my crockery, and threw us all

into confusion. Rowing hard we managed to get back into the main

river by dusk, and looked out for a place to cook our suppers. It

happened to be high water, and a very high tide, so that every

piece of sand or beach was covered, and it was with the greatest

difficulty, and after much groping in the dark, that we

discovered a little sloping piece of rock about two feet square

on which to make a fire and cook some rice. The next day we

continued our way back, and on the following day entered a stream

on the south side of the Watelai river, and ascending to where

navigation ceased found the little village of Wanumbai,

consisting of two large houses surrounded by plantations, amid

the virgin forests of Aru.

As I liked the look of the place, and was desirous of staying

some time, I sent my pilot to try and make a bargain for house

accommodation. The owner and chief man of the place made many

excuses. First, be was afraid I would not like his house, and

then was doubtful whether his son, who was away, would like his

admitting me. I had a long talk with him myself, and tried to

explain what I was doing, and how many things I would buy of

them, and showed him my stock of heads, and knives, and cloth,

and tobacco, all of which I would spend with his family and

friends if he would give me house-room. He seemed a little

staggered at this, and said he, would talk to his wife, and in

the meantime I went for a little walk to see the neighbourhood.

When I carne back, I again sent my pilot, saying that I would go

away if he would not dive me part of his house. In about half an

hour he returned with a demand for about half the cost of

building a house, for the rent of a small portion of it for a few

weeks. As the only difficulty now was a pecuniary one, I got out

about ten yards of cloth, an axe, with a few beads and some

tobacco, and sent them as my final offer for the part of the

house which I had before pointed out. This was accepted after a

little more talk, and I immediately proceeded to take possession.

The house was a good large one, raised as usual about seven feet

on posts, the walls about three or four feet more, with a high-

pitched roof. The floor was of bamboo laths, and in the sloping

roof way an immense shutter, which could be lifted and propped up

to admit light and air. At the end where this was situated the

floor was raised about a foot, and this piece, about ten feet

wide by twenty long, quite open to the rest of the house, was the

portion I was to occupy. At one end of this piece, separated by a

thatch partition, was a cooking place, with a clay floor and

shelves for crockery. At the opposite end I had my mosquito

curtain hung, and round the walls we arranged my boxes and other

stores, fated up a table and seat, and with a little cleaning and

dusting made the place look quite comfortable. My boat was then

hauled up on shore, and covered with palm-leaves, the sails and

oars brought indoors, a hanging-stage for drying my specimens

erected outside the house and another inside, and my boys were

set to clean their gnus and get ail ready for beginning work.

The next day I occupied myself in exploring the paths in the

immediate neighbourhood. The small river up which we had ascended

ceases to be navigable at this point, above which it is a little

rocky brook, which quite dries up in the hot season. There was

now, however, a fair stream of water in it; and a path which was

partly in and partly by the side of the water, promised well for

insects, as I here saw the magnificent blue butterfly, Papilio

ulysses, as well as several other fine species, flopping lazily

along, sometimes resting high up on the foliage which drooped

over the water, at others settling down on the damp rock or on

the edges of muddy pools. A little way on several paths branched

off through patches of second-growth forest to cane-fields,

gardens, and scattered houses, beyond which again the dark wall

of verdure striped with tree-trunks, marked out the limits of the

primeval forests. The voices of many birds promised good

shooting, and on my return I found that my boy s had already

obtained two or three kinds I had not seen before; and in the

evening a native brought me a rare and beautiful species of

ground-thrush (Pitta novaeguinaeae) hitherto only known from New


As I improved my acquaintance with them I became much interested

in these people, who are a fair sample of the true savage

inhabitants of the Aru Islands, tolerably free from foreign

admixture. The house I lived in contained four or five families,

and there were generally from six to a dozen visitors besides.

They kept up a continual row from morning till night--talking,

laughing, shouting, without intermission--not very pleasant, but

interesting as a study of national character. My boy Ali said to

me, "Banyak quot bitchara Orang Aru "(The Aru people are very

strong talkers), never having been accustomed to such eloquence

either in his own or any other country he had hitherto visited.

Of an evening the men, having got over their first shyness, began

to talk to me a little, asking about my country, &c., and in

return I questioned them about any traditions they had of their

own origin. I had, however, very little success, for I could not

possibly make them understand the simple question of where the

Aru people first came from. I put it in every possible way to

them, but it was a subject quite beyond their speculations; they

had evidently never thought of anything of the kind, and were

unable to conceive a thing so remote and so unnecessary to be

thought about, as their own origin. Finding this hopeless, I

asked if they knew when the trade with Aru first began, when the

Bugis and Chinese and Macassar men first came in their praus to

buy tripang and tortoise-shell, and birds' nests, arid Paradise


This they comprehended, but replied that there had always been

the same trade as long as they or their fathers recollected, but

that this was the first time a real white man had come among

them, and, said they, "You see how the people come every day from

all the villages round to look at you." This was very flattering,

and accounted for the great concourse of visitors which I had at

first imagined was accidental. A few years before I had been one

of the gazers at the Zoolus, and the Aztecs in London. Now the

tables were turned upon me, for I was to these people a new and

strange variety of man, and had the honour of affording to them,

in my own person, an attractive exhibition, gratis.

All the men and boys of Aru are expert archers, never stirring

without their bows and arrows. They shoot all sorts of birds, as

well as pigs and kangaroos occasionally, and thus have a

tolerably good supply of meat to eat with their vegetables. The

result of this better living is superior healthiness, well-made

bodies, and generally clear skins. They brought me numbers of

small birds in exchange for beads or tobacco, but mauled them

terribly, notwithstanding my repeated instructions. When they got

a bird alive they would often tie a string to its leg, and keep

it a day or two, till its plumage was so draggled and dirtied as

to be almost worthless. One of the first things I got from there

was a living specimen of the curious and beautiful racquet-tailed

kingfisher. Seeing how much I admired it, they afterwards brought

me several more, which wore all caught before daybreak, sleeping

in cavities of the rocky banks of the stream. My hunters also

shot a few specimens, and almost all of them had the red bill

more or less clogged with mud and earth. This indicates the

habits of the bird, which, though popularly a king-fisher, never

catches fish, but lives on insects and minute shells, which it

picks up in the forest, darting down upon them from its perch on

some low branch. The genus Tanysiptera, to which this bird

belongs, is remarkable for the enormously lengthened tail, which

in all other kingfishers is small and short. Linnaeus named the

species known to him "the goddess kingfisher" (Alcedo dea), from

its extreme grace and beauty, the plumage being brilliant blue

and white, with the bill red, like coral. Several species of

these interesting birds are now known, all confined within the

very limited area which comprises the Moluccas, New Guinea, and

the extreme North of Australia. They resemble each other so

closely that several of them can only be distinguished by careful

comparison. One of the rarest, however, which inhabits New

Guinea, is very distinct from the rest, being bright red beneath

instead of white. That which I now obtained was a new one, and

has been named Tanysiptera hydrocharis, but in general form and

coloration it is exactly similar to the larger species found in

Amboyna, and figured at page 468 of my first volume.

New and interesting birds were continually brought in, either by

my own boys or by the natives, and at the end of a week Ali

arrived triumphant one afternoon with a fine specimen of the

Great Bird of Paradise. The ornamental plumes had not yet

attained their full growth, but the richness of their glossy

orange colouring, and the exquisite delicacy of the loosely

waving feathers, were unsurpassable. At the same time a great

black cockatoo was brought in, as well as a fine fruit-pigeon and

several small birds, so that we were all kept hard at work

skinning till sunset. Just as we had cleared away and packed up

for the night, a strange beast was brought, which had been shot

by the natives. It resembled in size, and in its white woolly

covering, a small fat lamb, but had short legs, hand-like feet

with large claws, and a long prehensile tail. It was a Cuscus (C.

maculatus), one of the curious marsupial animals of the Papuan

region, and I was very desirous to obtain the skin. The owners,

however, said they wanted to eat it; and though I offered them a

good price, and promised to give them all the meat, there was

grout hesitation. Suspecting the reason, I offered, though it was

night, to set to work immediately and get out the body for them,

to which they agreed. The creature was much hacked about, and the

two hind feet almost cut off; but it was the largest and finest

specimen of the kind I had seen; and after an hour's hard work I

handed over the body to the owners, who immediately cut it up and

roasted it for supper.

As this was a very good place for birds, I determined to remain a

month longer, and took the opportunity of a native boat going to

Dobbo, to send Ali for a fresh supply of ammunition and

provisions. They started on the 10th of April, and the house was

crowded with about a hundred men, boys, women, and girls,

bringing their loads of sugar-cane, plantains, sirih-leaf, yams,

&c.; one lad going from each house to sell the produce and make

purchases. The noise was indescribable. At least fifty of the

hundred were always talking at once, and that not in the low

measured tones of the apathetically polite Malay, but with loud

voices, shouts, and screaming laughter, in which the women and

children were even more conspicuous than the men. It was only

while gazing at me that their tongues were moderately quiet,

because their eyes were fully occupied. The black vegetable soil

here overlying the coral rock is very rich, and the sugar-cane

was finer than any I had ever seen. The canes brought to the boat

were often ten and even twelve feet long, and thick in

proportion, with short joints throughout, swelling between the

knots with the, abundance of the rich juice. At Dobbo they get a

high price for it, 1d. to 3d. a stick, and there is an insatiable

demand among the crews of the praus and the Baba fishermen. Here

they eat it continually. They half live on it, and sometimes feed

their pigs with it. Near every house are great heaps of the

refuse cane; and large wicker-baskets to contain this refuse as

it is produced form a regular part of the furniture of a house.

Whatever time of the day you enter, you are sure to find three or

four people with a yard of cane in one hand, a knife in the

other, and a basket between their legs, hacking, paring, chewing,

and basket-filling, with a persevering assiduity which reminds

one of a hungry cow grazing, or of a caterpillar eating up a


After five days' absence the boats returned from Dobbo, bringing

Ali and all the things I had sent for quite safe. A large party

had assembled to be ready to carry home the goods brought, among

which were a good many cocoa-nut, which are a great luxury here.

It seems strange that they should never plant them; but the

reason simply is, that they cannot bring their hearts to bury a

good nut for the prospective advantage of a crop twelve years

hence. There is also the chance of the fruits being dug up and

eaten unless watched night and day. Among the things I had sent

for was a box of arrack, and I was now of course besieged with

requests for a little drop. I gave them a flask (about two

bottles, which was very soon finished, and I was assured that

there were many present who had not had a taste. As I feared my

box would very soon be emptied if I supplied all their demands, I

told them I had given them one, but the second they must pay for,

and that afterwards I must have a Paradise bird for each flask.

They immediately sent round to all the neighbouring houses, and

mustered up a rupee in Dutch copper money, got their second

flask, and drunk it as quickly as the first, and were then very

talkative, but less noisy and importunate than I had expected.

Two or three of them got round me and begged me for the twentieth

time to tell them the name of my country. Then, as they could not

pronounce it satisfactorily, they insisted that I was deceiving

them, and that it was a name of my own invention. One funny old

man, who bore a ludicrous resemblance, to a friend of mine at

home, was almost indignant. "Ung-lung! "said he, "who ever heard

of such a name?--ang lang--anger-lung--that can't be the name of

your country; you are playing with us." Then he tried to give a

convincing illustration. "My country is Wanumbai--anybody can say

Wanumbai. I'm an ` orang-Wanumbai; but, N-glung! who ever heard

of such a name? Do tell us the real name of your country, and

then when you are gone we shall know how to talk about you." To

this luminous argument and remonstrance I could oppose nothing

but assertion, and the whole party remained firmly convinced that

I was for some reason or other deceiving them. They then attacked

me on another point--what all the animals and birds and insects

and shells were preserved so carefully for. They had often asked

me this before, and I had tried to explain to them that they

would be stuffed, and made to look as if alive, and people in my

country would go to look at them. But this was not satisfying; in

my country there must be many better things to look at, and they

could not believe I would take so much trouble with their birds

and beasts just for people to look at. They did not want to look

at them; and we, who made calico and glass and knives, and all

sorts of wonderful things, could not want things from Aru to look

at. They had evidently been thinking about it, and had at length

got what seemed a very satisfactory theory; for the same old man

said to me, in a low, mysterious voice, "What becomes of them

when you go on to the sea?" "Why, they are all packed up in

boxes," said I "What did you think became of them?" "They all

come to life again, don't they?" said he; and though I tried to

joke it off, and said if they did we should have plenty to eat at

sea, he stuck to his opinion, and kept repeating, with an air of

deep conviction, "Yes, they all come to life again, that's what

they do--they all come to life again."

After a little while, and a good deal of talking among

themselves, he began again--"I know all about it--oh yes! Before

you came we had rain every day--very wet indeed; now, ever since

you have been here, it is fine hot weather. Oh, yes! I know all

about it; you can't deceive me." And so I was set down as a

conjurer, and was unable to repel the charge. But the conjurer

was completely puzzled by the next question: "What," said the old

man, "is the great ship, where the Bugis and Chinamen go to sell

their things? It is always in the great sea--its name is Jong;

tell us all about it." In vain I inquired what they knew about

it; they knew nothing but that it was called "Jong," and was

always in the sea, and was a very great ship, and concluded with,

"Perhaps that is your country?" Finding that I could not or would

not tell them anything about "Jong," there came more regrets that

I would not tell them the real name of my country; and then a

long string of compliments, to the effect that I was a much

better sort of a person than the Bugis and Chinese, who sometimes

came to trade with them, for I gave them things for nothing, and

did not try to cheat them. How long would I stop? was the next

earnest inquiry. Would I stay two or three months? They would get

me plenty of birds and animals, and I might soon finish all the

goods I had brought, and then, said the old spokesman, "Don't go

away, but send for more things from Dobbo, and stay here a year

or two." And then again the old story, "Do tell us the name of

your country. We know the Bugis men, and the Macassar men, and

the Java men, and the China men; only you, we don't know from

what country you come. Ung-lung! it can't be; I know that is not

the name of your country." Seeing no end to this long talk, I

said I was tired, and wanted to go to sleep; so after begging--

one a little bit of dry fish for his supper, and another a little

salt to eat with his sago--they went off very quietly, and I went

outside and took a stroll round the house by moonlight, thinking

of the simple people and the strange productions of Aru, and then

turned in under my mosquito curtain; to sleep with a sense of

perfect security in the midst of these good-natured savages.

We now had seven or eight days of hot and dry weather, which

reduced the little river to a succession of shallow pools

connected by the smallest possible thread of trickling water. If

there were a dry season like that of Macassar, the Aru Islands

would be uninhabitable, as there is no part of them much above a

hundred feet high; and the whole being a mass of porous coralline

rock, allows the surface water rapidly to escape. The only dry

season they have is for a month or two about September or

October, and there is then an excessive scarcity of water, so

that sometimes hundreds of birds and other animals die of

drought. The natives then remove to houses near the sources of

the small streams, where, in the shady depths of the forest, a

small quantity of water still remains. Even then many of them

have to go miles for their water, which they keep in large

bamboos and use very sparingly. They assure me that they catch

and kill game of all kinds, by watching at the water holes or

setting snares around them. That would be the time for me to make

my collections; but the want of water would be a terrible

annoyance, and the impossibility of getting away before another

whole year had passed made it out of the question.

Ever since leaving Dobbo I had suffered terribly from insects,

who seemed here bent upon revenging my long-continued persecution

of their race. At our first stopping-place sand-flies were very

abundant at night, penetrating to every part of the body, and

producing a more lasting irritation than mosquitoes. My feet and

ankles especially suffered, and were completely covered with

little red swollen specks, which tormented me horribly. On

arriving here we were delighted to find the house free from sand-

flies or mosquitoes, but in the plantations where my daily walks

led me, the day-biting mosquitoes swarmed, and seemed especially

to delight in attaching my poor feet. After a month's incessant

punishment, those useful members rebelled against such treatment

and broke into open insurrection, throwing out numerous inflamed

ulcers, which were very painful, and stopped me from walking. So

I found myself confined to the house, and with no immediate

prospect of leaving it. Wounds or sores in the feet are

especially difficult to heal in hot climates, and I therefore

dreaded them more than any other illness. The confinement was

very annoying, as the fine hot weather was excellent for insects,

of which I had every promise of obtaining a fine collection; and

it is only by daily and unremitting search that the smaller

kinds, and the rarer and more interesting specimens, can be

obtained. When I crawled down to the river-side to bathe, I often

saw the blue-winged Papilio ulysses, or some other equally rare

and beautiful insect; but there was nothing for it but patience,

and to return quietly to my bird-skinning, or whatever other work

I had indoors. The stings and bites and ceaseless irritation

caused by these pests of the tropical forests, would be borne

uncomplainingly; but to be kept prisoner by them in so rich and

unexplored a country where rare and beautiful creatures are to be

met with in every forest ramble--a country reached by such a long

and tedious voyage, and which might not in the present century be

again visited for the same purpose--is a punishment too severe

for a naturalist to pass over in silence.

I had, however, some consolation in the birds my boys brought

home daily, more especially the Paradiseas, which they at length

obtained in full plumage. It was quite a relief to my mind to get

these, for I could hardly have torn myself away from Aru had I

not obtained specimens.

But what I valued almost as much as the birds themselves was the

knowledge of their habits, which I was daily obtaining both from

the accounts of my hunters, and from the conversation of the

natives. The birds had now commenced what the people here call

their "sacaleli," or dancing-parties, in certain trees in the

forest, which are not fruit trees as I at first imagined, but

which have an immense tread of spreading branches and large but

scattered leaves, giving a clear space for the birds to play and

exhibit their plumes. On one of these trees a dozen or twenty

full-plumaged male birds assemble together, raise up their wings,

stretch out their necks, and elevate their exquisite plumes,

keeping them in a continual vibration. Between whiles they fly

across from branch to branch in great excitement, so that the

whole tree is filled with waving plumes in every variety of

attitude and motion. (See Frontispiece.) The bird itself is

nearly as large as a crow, and is of a rich coffee brown colour.

The head and neck is of a pure straw yellow above and rich

metallic green beneath. The long plumy tufts of golden orange

feathers spring from the sides beneath each wing, and when the

bird is in repose are partly concealed by them. At the time of

its excitement, however, the wings are raised vertically over

tile back, the head is bent down and stretched out, and the long

plumes are raised up and expanded till they form two magnificent

golden fans, striped with deep red at the base, and fading off

into the pale brown tint of the finely divided and softly waving

points. The whole bird is then overshadowed by them, the

crouching body, yellow head, and emerald green throat forming but

the foundation and setting to the golden glory which waves above.

When seen in this attitude, the Bird of Paradise really deserves

its name, and must be ranked as one of the most beautiful and

most wonderful of living things. I continued also to get

specimens of the lovely little king-bird occasionally, as well as

numbers of brilliant pigeons, sweet little parroquets, and many

curious small birds, most nearly resembling those of Australia

and New Guinea.

Here, as among most savage people I have dwelt among, I was

delighted with the beauty of the human form-a beauty of which

stay-at-home civilized people can scarcely have any conception.

What are the finest Grecian statues to the living, moving,

breathing men I saw daily around me? The unrestrained grace of

the naked savage as he goes about his daily occupations, or

lounges at his ease, must be seen to be understood; and a youth

bending his bow is the perfection of manly beauty. The women,

however, except in extreme youth, are by no means so pleasant to

look at as the men. Their strongly-marked features are very

unfeminine, and hard work, privations, and very early marriages

soon destroy whatever of beauty or grace they may for a short

time possess. Their toilet is very simple, but also, I am sorry

to say, very coarse, and disgusting. It consists solely of a mat

of plaited strips of palm leaves, worn tight round the body, and

reaching from the hips to the knees. It seems not to be changed

till worn out, is seldom washed, and is generally very dirty.

This is the universal dress, except in a few cases where Malay

"sarongs" have come into use. Their frizzly hair is tied in a

bench at the back of the head. They delight in combing, or rather

forking it, using for that purpose a large wooden fork with four

diverging prongs, which answers the purpose of separating and

arranging the long tangled, frizzly mass of cranial vegetation

much better than any comb could do. The only ornaments of the

women are earrings and necklaces, which they arrange in various

tasteful ways. The ends of a necklace are often attached to the

earrings, and then looped on to the hair-knot behind. This has

really an elegant appearance, the beads hanging gracefully on

each side of the head, and by establishing a connexion with the

earrings give an appearance of utility to those barbarous

ornaments. We recommend this style to the consideration of those

of the fair sex who still bore holes in their ears and hang rings

thereto. Another style of necklace among these Papuan belles is

to wear two, each hanging on one side of the neck and under the

opposite arm, so as to cross each other. This has a very pretty

appearance, in part due to the contrast of the white beads or

kangaroo teeth of which they are composed with the dark glossy

skin. The earrings themselves are formed of a bar of copper or

silver, twisted so that the ends cross. The men, as usual among

savages, adorn themselves more than the women. They wear

necklaces, earrings, and finger rings, and delight in a band of

plaited grass tight round the arm just below the shoulder, to

which they attach a bunch of hair or bright coloured feathers by

way of ornament. The teeth of small animals, either alone, or

alternately with black or white beads, form their necklaces, and

sometimes bracelets also. For these latter, however, they prefer

brass wire, or the black, horny, wing-spines of the cassowary,

which they consider a charm. Anklets of brass or shell, and tight

plaited garters below the knee, complete their ordinary


Some natives of Kobror from further south, and who are reckoned

the worst and least civilized of the Aru tribes, came one day to

visit us. They have a rather more than usually savage appearance,

owing to the greater amount of ornaments they use--the most

conspicuous being a large horseshoe-shaped comb which they wear

over the forehead, the ends resting on the temples. The back of

the comb is fastened into a piece of wood, which is plated with

tin in front, and above is attached a plume of feathers from a

cock's tail. In other respects they scarcely differed from the

people I was living with. They brought me a couple of birds, some

shells and insects; showing that the report of the white man and

his doing had reached their country. There was probably hardly a

man in Aru who had not by this time heard of me.

Besides the domestic utensils already mentioned, the moveable

property of a native is very scanty. He has a good supply of

spears and bows and arrows for hunting, a parang, or chopping-

knife, and an axe-for the stone age has passed away here, owing

to the commercial enterprise of the Bugis and other Malay races.

Attached to a belt, or hung across his shoulder, he carrion a

little skin pouch and an ornamented bamboo, containing betel-nut,

tobacco, and lime, and a small German wooden-handled knife is

generally stuck between his waist-cloth of bark and his bare

shin. Each man also possesses a cadjan," or sleeping-mat, made

of the broad leaves of a pandanus neatly sewn together in- three

layers. This mat is abort four feet square, and when folded has

one end sewn up, so that it forms a kind of sack open at one

side. In the closed corner the head or feet can be placed, or by

carrying it on the head in a shower it forms both coat and

umbrella. It doubles up ix a small compass for convenient

carriage, and then forms a light and elastic cushion, so that on

a journey it becomes clothing, house, bedding, and furniture, all

in one.

The only ornaments in an Aru horse are trophies of the chase--

jaws of wild pigs, the heads and backbones of cassowaries, and

plumes made from the feathers of the Bird of Paradise, cassowary,

and domestic fowl. The spears, shields, knife-handles, and other

utensils are more or less carved in fanciful designs, and the

mats and leaf boxes are painted or plaited in neat patterns of

red, black, and yellow colours. I must not forget these boxes,

which are most ingeniously made of the pith of a balm leaf pegged

together, lined inside with pandanus leaves, and outside with the

same, or with plaited grass. All the joints and angles are

coffered with strips of split rattan sewn neatly on. The lid is

covered with the brown leathery spathe of the Areca palm, which

is impervious to water, and the whole box is neat, strong, and

well finished. They are made from a few inches to two or three

feet long, and being much esteemed by the Malay as clothes-boxes,

are a regular article of export from Aru. The natives use the

smaller ones for tobacco or betel-nut, but seldom have clothes

enough to require the larger ones, which are only made for sale.

Among the domestic animals which may generally be seen in native

houses, are gaudy parrots, green, red, and blue, a few domestic

fowls, which have baskets hung for them to lay in under the

eaves, and who sleep on the ridge, and several half-starved

wolfish-baking dogs. Instead of rats and mice there are curious

little marsupial animals about the same size, which run about at

night and nibble anything eatable that may be left uncovered.

Four or five different kinds of ants attack everything not

isolated by water, and one kind even swims across that; great

spiders lurk in baskets and boxes, or hide in the folds of my

mosquito curtain; centipedes and millepedes are found everywhere.

I have caught them under my pillow and on my bead; while in every

box, and under every hoard which has lain for some days

undisturbed, little scorpions are sure to be found snugly

ensconced, with their formidable tails quickly turned up ready

for attack or defence. Such companions seem very alarming and

dangerous, but all combined are not so bad as the irritation of

mosquitoes, or of the insect pests often found at home. These

latter are a constant and unceasing source of torment and

disgust, whereas you may live a long time among scorpions,

spiders, and centipedes, ugly and venomous though they are, and

get no harm from them. After living twelve years in the tropics,

I have never yet been bitten or stung by either.

The lean and hungry dogs before mentioned were my greatest

enemies, and kept me constantly on the watch. If my boys left the

bird they were skinning for an instant, it was sure to be carried

off. Everything eatable had to be hung up to the roof, to be out

of their reach. Ali had just finished skinning a fine King Bird

of Paradise one day, when he dropped the skin. Before he could

stoop to pick it up, one of this famished race had seized upon

it, and he only succeeded in rescuing it from its fangs after it

was torn to tatters. Two skins of the large Paradisea, which were

quite dry and ready to pack away, were incautiously left on my

table for the night, wrapped up in paper. The next morning they

were gone, and only a few scattered feathers indicated their

fate. My hanging shelf was out of their reach; but having

stupidly left a box which served as a step, a full-plumaged

Paradise bird was next morning missing; and a dog below the house

was to be seen still mumbling over the fragments, with the fine

golden plumes all trampled in the mud. Every night, as soon as I

was in bed, I could hear them searching about for what they could

devour, under my table, and all about my boxes and baskets,

keeping me in a state of suspense till morning, lest something of

value might incautiously have been left within their read. They

would drink the oil of my floating lamp and eat the wick, and

upset or break my crockery if my lazy boys had neglected to wash

away even the smell of anything eatable. Bad, however, as they

are here, they were worse in a Dyak's house in Borneo where I was

once staying, for there they gnawed off the tops of my waterproof

boots, ate a large piece out of an old leather game-bag, besides

devouring a portion of my mosquito curtain!

April 28th.--Last evening we had a grand consultation, which had

evidently been arranged and discussed beforehand. A number of the

natives gathered round me, and said they wanted to talk. Two of

the best Malay scholars helped each other, the rest putting in

hints and ideas in their own language. They told me a long

rambling story; but, partly owing to their imperfect knowledge of

Malay, partly through my ignorance of local terms, and partly

through the incoherence of their narrative, I could not make it

out very clearly. It was, however, a tradition, and I was glad to

find they had anything of the kind. A long time ago, they said,

some strangers came to Aru, and came here to Wanumbai, and the

chief of the Wanumbai people did not like them, and wanted them

to go away, but they would not go, and so it came to fighting,

and many Aru men were killed, and some, along with the chief,

were taken prisoners, and carried away by the strangers. Some of

the speakers, however, said that he was not carried away, but

went away in his own boat to escape from the foreigners, and went

to the sea and never came back again. But they all believe that

the chief and the people that went with him still live in some

foreign country; and if they could but find out where, they would

send for them to come back again. Now having some vague idea that

white men must know every country beyond the sea, they wanted to

know if I had met their people in my country or in the sea. They

thought they must be there, for they could not imagine where else

they could be. They had sought for them everywhere, they said--on

the land and in the sea, in the forest and on the mountains, in

the air and in the sky, and could not find them; therefore, they

must be in my country, and they begged me to tell them, for I

must surely know, as I came from across the great sea. I tried to

explain to them that their friends could not have reached my

country in small boats; and that there were plenty of islands

like Aru all about the sea, which they would be sure to find.

Besides, as it was so long ago, the chief and all the people must

be dead. But they quite laughed at this idea, and said they were

sure they were alive, for they had proof of it. And then they

told me that a good many years ago, when the speakers were boys,

some Wokan men who were out fishing met these lost people in the

sea, and spoke to them; and the chief gave the Wokan men a

hundred fathoms of cloth to bring to the men of Wanumbai, to show

that they were alive and would soon come back to them, but the

Wokan men were thieves, and kept the cloth, and they only heard

of it afterwards; and when they spoke about it, the Wokan men

denied it, and pretended they had not received the cloth;--so

they were quite sure their friends were at that time alive and

somewhere in the sea. And again, not many years ago, a report

came to them that some Bu0gis traders had brought some children

of their lost people; so they went to Dobbo to see about it, and

the owner of the house, who was now speaking to me, was one who

went; but the Bugis roan would not let them see the children, and

threatened to kill them if they came into his house. He kept the

children shut up in a large box, and when he went away he took

them with him. And at the end of each of these stories, they

begged me in an imploring tone to tell them if I knew where their

chief and their people now were.

By dint of questioning, I got some account of the strangers who

had taken away their people. They said they were wonderfully

strong, and each one could kill a great many Aru men; and when

they were wounded, however badly, they spit upon the place, and

it immediately became well. And they made a great net of rattans,

and entangled their prisoners in it, and sunk them in the water;

and the next day, when they pulled the net up on shore, they made

the drowned men come to life again, and carried them away.

Much more of the same kind was told me, but in so confused and

rambling a manner that I could make nothing out of it, till I

inquired how long ago it was that all this happened, when they

told me that after their people were taken away the Bugis came in

their praus to trade in Aru, and to buy tripang and birds' nests.

It is not impossible that something similar to what they related

to me really happened when the early Portuguese discoverers first

carne to Aru, and has formed the foundation for a continually

increasing accumulation of legend and fable. I have no doubt that

to the next generation, or even before, I myself shall be

transformed into a magician or a demigod, a worker of miracles,

and a being of supernatural knowledge. They already believe that

all the animals I preserve will come to life again; and to their

children it will be related that they actually did so. An unusual

spell of fine weather setting in just at my arrival has made them

believe I can control the seasons; and the simple circumstance of

my always walking alone in the forest is a wonder and a mystery

to them, as well as my asking them about birds and animals I have

not yet seen, and showing an acquaintance with their form,

colours, and habits. These facts are brought against me when I

disclaim knowledge of what they wish me to tell them. "You must

know," say they; "you know everything: you make the fine weather

for your men to shoot, and you know all about our birds and our

animals as well as we do; and you go alone into the forest and

are not afraid." Therefore every confession of ignorance on my

part is thought to be a blind, a mere excuse to avoid telling

them too much. My very writing materials and books are to them

weird things; and were I to choose to mystify them by a few

simple experiments with lens and magnet, miracles without end

would in a few years cluster about me; and future travellers,

penetrating to Wanumbai, world h hardly believe that a poor

English naturalist, who had resided a few months among them,

could have been the original of the supernatural being to whom so

many marvels were attributed.

Far some days I had noticed a good deal of excitement, and many

strangers came and went armed with spears and cutlasses, bows and

shields. I now found there was war near us--two neighbouring

villages having a quarrel about some matter of local politics

that I could not understand. They told me it was quite a common

thing, and that they are rarely without fighting somewhere near.

Individual quarrels are taken up by villages and tribes, and the

nonpayment of the stipulated price for a wife is one of the most

frequent causes of bitterness and bloodshed. One of the war

shields was brought me to look at. It was made of rattans and

covered with cotton twist, so as to be both light, strong, and

very tough. I should think it would resist any ordinary bullet.

Abort the middle there was au arm-hole with a shutter or flap

over it. This enables the arm to be put through and the bow

drawn, while the body and face, up to the eyes, remain protected,

which cannot be done if the shield is carried on the arm by loops

attached at the back in the ordinary way. A few of the young men

from our house went to help their friends, but I could not bear

that any of them were hurt, or that there was much hard fighting.

May 8th.-I had now been six weeks at Wanumbai, but for more than

half the time was laid up in the house with ulcerated feet. My

stores being nearly exhausted, and my bird and insect boxes full,

and having no immediate prospect of getting the use of my legs

again, I determined on returning to Dobbo. Birds had lately

become rather scarce, and the Paradise birds had not yet become

as plentiful as the natives assured me they would be in another

month. The Wanumbai people seemed very sorry at my departure; and

well they might be, for the shells and insects they picked up on

the way to and from their plantations, and the birds the little

boys shot with their bows and arrows, kept them all well supplied

with tobacco and gambir, besides enabling them to accumulate a

stock of beads and coppers for future expenses. The owner of the

house was supplied gratis with a little rice, fish, or salt,

whenever he asked for it, which I must say was not very often. On

parting, I distributed among them my remnant stock of salt and

tobacco, and gave my host a flask of arrack, and believe that on

the whole my stay with these simple and good-natured people was

productive of pleasure and profit to both parties. I fully

intended to come back; and had I known that circumstances would

have prevented my doing so, shoed have felt some sorrow in

leaving a place where I had first seen so many rare and beautiful

living things, and bad so fully enjoyed the pleasure which fills

the heart of the naturalist when he is so fortunate as to

discover a district hitherto unexplored, and where every day

brings forth new and unexpected treasures. We loaded our boat in

the afternoon, and, starting before daybreak, by the help of a

fair wind reached Dobbo late the same evening.



(MAY AND JUNE 1857.)

DOBBO was full to overflowing, and I was obliged to  occupy the

court-house where the Commissioners hold their sittings. They had

now left the island, and I found the situation agreeable, as it

was at the end of the village, with a view down the principal

street. It was a mere shed, but half of it had a roughly boarded

floor, and by putting up a partition and opening a window I made

it a very pleasant abode. In one of the boxes I had left in

charge of Herr Warzbergen, a colony of small ants had settled and

deposited millions of eggs. It was luckily a fine hot day, and by

carrying the box some distance from the house, and placing every

article in the sunshine for an hour or two, I got rid of them

without damage, as they were fortunately a harmless species.

Dobbo now presented an animated appearance. Five or six new

houses had been added to the street; the praus were all brought

round to the western side of the point, where they were hauled up

on the beach, and were being caulked and covered with a thick

white lime-plaster for the homeward voyage, making them the

brightest and cleanest looking things in the place. Most of the

small boats had returned from the "blakang-tana "(back country),

as the side of the islands towards New Guinea is called. Piles of

firewood were being heaped up behind the houses; sail-makers and

carpenters were busy at work; mother-of-pearl shell was being

tied up in bundles, and the black and ugly smoked tripang was

having a last exposure to the sun before loading. The spare

portion of the crews were employed cutting and squaring timber,

and boats from Ceram and Goram were constantly unloading their

cargoes of sago-cake for the traders' homeward voyage. The fowls,

ducks, and goats all looked fat and thriving on the refuse food

of a dense population, and the Chinamen's pigs were in a state of

obesity that foreboded early death. Parrots and Tories and

cockatoos, of a dozen different binds, were suspended on bamboo

perches at the doors of the houses, with metallic green or white

fruit-pigeons which cooed musically at noon and eventide. Young

cassowaries, strangely striped with black and brown, wandered

about the houses or gambolled with the playfulness of kittens in

the hot sunshine, with sometimes a pretty little kangaroo, caught

in the Aru forests, but already tame and graceful as a petted


Of an evening there were more signs of life than at the time of

my former residence. Tom-toms, jews'-harps, and even fiddles were

to be heard, and the melancholy Malay songs sounded not

unpleasantly far into the night. Almost every day there was a

cock-fight in the street. The spectators make a ring, and after

the long steel spurs are tied on, and the poor animals are set

down to gash and kill each other, the excitement is immense.

Those who lave made bets scream and yell and jump frantically, if

they think they are going to win or lose, but in a very few

minutes it is all over; there is a hurrah from the winners, the

owners seize their cocks, the winning bird is caressed and

admired, the loser is generally dead or very badly wounded, and

his master may often be seen plucking out his feathers as he

walks away, preparing him for the cooking pot while the poor bird

is still alive.

A game at foot-ball, which generally took place at sunset, was,

however, much more interesting to me. The ball used is a rather

small one, and is made of rattan, hollow, light, and elastic. The

player keeps it dancing a little while on his foot, then

occasionally on his arm or thigh, till suddenly he gives it a

good blow with the hollow of the foot, and sends it flying high

in the air. Another player runs to meet it, and at its first

bound catches it on his foot and plays in his turn. The ball must

never be touched with the hand; but the arm, shoulder, knee, or

thigh are used at pleasure to rest the foot. Two or three played

very skilfully, keeping the ball continually flying about, but

the place was too confined to show off the game to advantage. One

evening a quarrel arose from some dispute in the game, and there

was a great row, and it was feared there would be a fight about

it--not two men only, but a party of a dozen or twenty on each

side, a regular battle with knives and krisses; but after a large

amount of talk it passed off quietly, and we heard nothing about

it afterwards.

Most Europeans being gifted by nature with a luxuriant growth of

hair upon their faces, think it disfigures them, and keep up a

continual struggle against her by mowing down every morning the

crop which has sprouted up flaring the preceding twenty-four

hours. Now the men of Mongolian race are, naturally, just as many

of us want to he. They mostly pass their lives with faces as

smooth and beardless as an infant's. But shaving seems an

instinct of the human race; for many of these people, having no

hair to take off their faces, shave their heads. Others, however,

set resolutely to work to force nature to give them a beard. One

of the chief cock-fighters at Dobbo was a Javanese, a sort of

master of the ceremonies of the ring, who tied on the spars and

acted as backer-up to one of the combatants. This man had

succeeded, by assiduous cultivation, in raising a pair of

moustaches which were a triumph of art, for they each contained

about a dozen hairs more than three inches long, and which, being

well greased and twisted, were distinctly visible (when not too

far off) as a black thread hanging down on each side of his

mouth. But the beard to match was the difficulty, for nature had

cruelly refused to give him a rudiment of hair on his chin, and

the most talented gardener could not do much if he had nothing to

cultivate. But true genius triumphs over difficulties. Although

there was no hair proper on the chin; there happened to be,

rather on one side of it, a small mole or freckle which contained

(as such things frequently do) a few stray hairs. These had been

made the most of. They had reached four or five inches in length,

and formed another black thread dangling from the left angle of

the chin. The owner carried this as if it were something

remarkable (as it certainly was); he often felt it

affectionately, passed it between his fingers, and was evidently

extremely proud of his moustaches and beard!

One of the most surprising things connected with Aru was the

excessive cheapness of all articles of European or native

manufacture. We were here two thousand miles beyond Singapore and

Batavia, which are themselves emporiums of the "far east," in a

place unvisited by, and almost unknown to, European traders;

everything reached us through at least two or three hands, often

many more; yet English calicoes and American cotton cloths could

be bought for 8s. the piece, muskets for 15s., common scissors

and German knives at three-halfpence each, and other cutlery,

cotton goods, and earthenware in the same proportion. The natives

of this out-of-the-way country can, in fact, buy all these things

at about the same money price as our workmen at home, but in

reality very much cheaper, for the produce of a few hours' labour

enables the savage to purchase in abundance what are to him

luxuries, while to the European they are necessaries of life. The

barbarian is no happier and no better off for this cheapness. On

the contrary, it has a most injurious effect on him. He wants the

stimulus of necessity to force him to labour; and if iron were as

dear as silver, and calico as costly as satin, the effect would

be beneficial to him. As it is, he has more idle hours, gets a

more constant supply of tobacco, and can intoxicate himself with

arrack more frequently and more thoroughly; for your Aru man

scorns to get half drunk-a tumbler full of arrack is but a slight

stimulus, and nothing less than half a gallon of spirit will make

him tipsy to his own satisfaction.

It is not agreeable to reflect on this state of things. At least

half of the vast multitudes of uncivilized peoples, on whom our

gigantic manufacturing system, enormous capital, and intense

competition force the produce of our looms and workshops, would

be not a whit worse off physically, and would certainly be

improved morally, if all the articles with which w e supply them

were double or treble their present prices. If at the same time

the difference of cost, or a large portion of it, could find its

way into the pockets of the manufacturing workmen, thousands

would be raised from want to comfort, from starvation to health,

and would be removed from one of the chief incentives to crime.

It is difficult for an Englishman to avoid contemplating with

pride our gigantic and ever-increasing manufactures and commerce,

and thinking everything good that renders their progress still

more rapid, either by lowering the price at which the articles

can be produced, or by discovering new markets to which they may

be sent. If, however, the question that is so frequently asked of

the votaries of the less popular sciences were put here--"Cui

bono?"--it would be found more difficult to answer than had been

imagined. The advantages, even to the few who reap them, would be

seen to be mostly physical, while the wide-spread moral and

intellectual evils resulting from unceasing labour, low wages,

crowded dwellings, and monotonous occupations, to perhaps as

large a number as those who gain any real advantage, might be

held to show a balance of evil so great, as to lead the greatest

admirers of our manufactures and commerce to doubt the

advisability of their further development. It will be said: "We

cannot stop it;  capital must be employed; our population must be

kept at work; if we hesitate a moment, other nations now hard

pressing us will get ahead, and national ruin will follow." Some

of this is true, some fallacious. It is undoubtedly a difficult

problem which we have to solve; and I am inclined to think it is

this difficulty that makes men conclude that what seems a

necessary and unalterable state of things must be good-that its

benefits must he greater than its evils. This was the feeling of

the American advocates of slavery; they could not see an easy,

comfortable way out of it. In our own case, however, it is to be

hoped, that if a fair consideration of the matter in all its

hearings shows that a preponderance of evil arises from the

immensity of our manufactures and commerce-evil which must go on

increasing with their increase-there is enough both of political

wisdom and true philanthropy in Englishmen, to induce them to

turn their superabundant wealth into other channels. The fact

that has led to these remarks is surely a striking one: that in

one of the most remote corners of the earth savages can buy

clothing cheaper than the people of the country where it is made;

that the weaver's child should shiver in the wintry wind, unable

to purchase articles attainable by the wild natives of a tropical

climate, where clothing is mere ornament or luxury, should make

us pause ere we regard with unmixed admiration the system which

has led to such a result, and cause us to look with some

suspicion on the further extension of that system. It must be

remembered too that our commerce is not a purely natural growth.

It has been ever fostered by the legislature, and forced to an

unnatural luxuriance by the protection of our fleets and armies.

The wisdom and the justice of this policy have been already

doubted. So soon, therefore, as it is seen that the further

extension of our manufactures and commerce would be an evil, the

remedy is not far to seek.

After six weeks' confinement to the house I was at length well,

and could resume my daily walks in the forest. I did not,

however, find it so productive as when I had first arrived at

Dobbo. There was a damp stagnation about the paths, and insects

were very scarce. In some of my best collecting places I now

found a mass of rotting wood, mingled with young shoots, and

overgrown with climbers, yet I always managed to add something

daily to my extensive collections. I one day met with a curious

example of failure of instinct, which, by showing it to be

fallible, renders it very doubtful whether it is anything more

than hereditary habit, dependent on delicate modifications of

sensation. Some sailors cut down a good-sized tree, and, as is

always my practice, I visited it daily for some time in search of

insects. Among other beetles came swarms of the little

cylindrical woodborers (Platypus, Tesserocerus, &c.), and

commenced making holes in the bark. After a day or two I was

surprised to find hundreds of them sticking in the holes they had

bored, and on examination discovered that the milky sap of the

tree was of the nature of gutta-percha, hardening rapidly on

exposure to the air, and glueing the little animals in self-dug

graves. The habit of boring holes in trees in which to deposit

their eggs, was not accompanied by a sufficient instinctive

knowledge of which trees were suitable, and which destructive to

them. If, as is very probable, these trees have an attractive

odour to certain species of borers, it might very likely lead to

their becoming extinct; while other species, to whom the same

odour was disagreeable, and who therefore avoided the dangerous

trees, would survive, and would be credited by us with an

instinct, whereas they would really be guided by a simple


Those curious little beetles, the Brenthidae, were very abundant

in Aru. The females have a pointed rostrum, with which they bore

deep holes in the bark of dead trees, often burying the rostrum

up to the eyes, and in these holes deposit their eggs. The males

are larger, and have the rostrum dilated at the end, and

sometimes terminating in a good-sized pair of jaws. I once saw

two males fighting together; each had a fore-leg laid across the

neck of the other, and the rostrum bent quite in an attitude of

defiance, and looking most ridiculous. Another time, two were

fighting for a female, who stood close by busy at her boring.

They pushed at each other with their rostra, and clawed and

thumped, apparently in the greatest rage, although their coats of

mail must have saved both from injury. The small one, however,

soon ran away, acknowledging himself vanquished. In most

Coleoptera the female is larger than the male, and it is

therefore interesting, as bearing on the question of sexual

selection, that in this case, as in the stag-beetles where the

males fight together, they should be not only better armed, but

also much larger than the females. Just as we were going away, a

handsome tree, allied to Erythrina, was in blossom, showing its

masses of large crimson flowers scattered here and there about

the forest. Could it have been seen from an elevation, it would

have had a fine effect; from below I could only catch sight of

masses of gorgeous colour in clusters and festoons overhead,

about which flocks of blue and orange lories were fluttering and


A good many people died at Dobbo this season; I believe about

twenty. They were buried in a little grove of Casuarinas behind

my house. Among the traders was a. Mahometan priest, who

superintended the funerals, which were very simple. The body was

wrapped up in new white cotton cloth, and was carried on a bier

to the grave. All the spectators sat down on the ground, and the

priest chanted some verses from the Koran. The graves were fenced

round with a slight bamboo railing, and a little carved wooden

head-post was put to mark the spot. There was also in the village

a small mosque, where every Friday the faithful went to pray.

This is probably more remote from Mecca than any other mosque in

the world, and marks the farthest eastern extension of the

Mahometan religion. The Chinese here, as elsewhere, showed their

superior wealth and civilization by tombstones of solid granite

brought from Singapore, with deeply-cut inscriptions, the

characters of which are painted in red, blue, and gold. No people

have more respect for the graves of their relations and friends

than this strange, ubiquitous, money-getting people.

Soon after we had returned to Dobbo, my Macassar boy, Baderoon,

took his wages and left me, because I scolded him for laziness.

He then occupied himself in gambling, and at first had some luck,

and bought ornaments, and had plenty of money. Then his luck

turned; he lost everything, borrowed money and lost that, and was

obliged to become the slave of his creditor till he had worked

out the debt. He was a quick and active lad when he pleased, but

was apt to be idle, and had such an incorrigible propensity for

gambling, that it will very likely lead to his becoming a slave

for life.

The end of June was now approaching, the east monsoon had set in

steadily, and in another week or two Dobbo would be deserted.

Preparations for departure were everywhere visible, and every

sunny day (rather rare now) the streets were as crowded and as

busy as beehives. Heaps of tripang were finally dried and packed

up in sacks; mother-of-pearl shell, tied up with rattans into

convenient bundles, was all day long being carried to the beach

to be loaded; water-casks were filled, and cloths and mat-sails

mended and strengthened for the run home before the strong east

wind. Almost every day groups of natives arrived from the most

distant parts of the islands, with cargoes of bananas and sugar-

cane to exchange for tobacco, sago, bread, and other luxuries,

before the general departure. The Chinamen killed their fat pig

and made their parting feast, and kindly sent me some pork, and a

basin of birds' nest stew, which had very little more taste than

a dish of vermicelli. My boy Ali returned from Wanumbai, where I

had sent him alone for a fortnight to buy Paradise birds and

prepare the skins; he brought me sixteen glorious specimens, and

had he not been very ill with fever and ague might have obtained

twice the number. He had lived with the people whose house I had

occupied, and it is a proof of their goodness, if fairly treated,

that although he took with him a quantity of silver dollars to

pay for the birds they caught, no attempt was made to rob him,

which might have been done with the most perfect impunity. He was

kindly treated when ill, and was brought back to me with the

balance of the dollars he had not spent.

The Wanumbai people, like almost all the inhabitants of the Aru

Islands, are perfect savages, and I saw no signs of any religion.

There are, however, three or four villages on the coast where

schoolmasters from Amboyna reside, and the people are nominally

Christians, and are to some extent educated and civilized. I

could not get much real knowledge of the customs of the Aru

people during the short time I was among them, but they have

evidently been considerably influenced by their long association

with Mahometan traders. They often bury their dead, although the

national custom is to expose the body an a raised stage till it

decomposes. Though there is no limit to the number of wives a man

may have, they seldom exceed one or two. A wife is regularly

purchased from the parents, the price being a large assortment of

articles, always including gongs, crockery, and cloth. They told

me that some of the tribes kill the old men and women when they

can no longer work, but I saw many very old and decrepid people,

who seemed pretty well attended to. No doubt all who have much

intercourse with the Bugis and Ceramese traders gradually lose

many of their native customs, especially as these people often

settle in their villages and marry native women.

The trade carried on at Dobbo is very considerable. This year

there were fifteen large praus from Macassar, and perhaps a

hundred small boats from Ceram, Goram, and Ke. The Macassar

cargoes are worth about 1,000. each, and the other boats take

away perhaps about 3,000, worth, so that the whole exports may

be estimated at 18,000. per annum. The largest and most bulky

items are pearl-shell and tripang, or "beche-de-mer," with

smaller quantities of tortoise-shell, edible birds' nests,

pearls, ornamental woods, timber, and Birds of Paradise. These

are purchased with a variety of goods. Of arrack, about equal in

strength to ordinary West India rum, 3,000 boxes, each containing

fifteen half-gallon bottles, are consumed annually. Native cloth

from Celebes is much esteemed for its durability, and large

quantities are sold, as well as white English calico and American

unbleached cottons, common crockery, coarse cutlery, muskets,

gunpowder, gongs, small brass cannon, and elephants' tusks. These

three last articles constitute the wealth of the Aru people, with

which they pay for their wives, or which they hoard up as "real

property." Tobacco is in immense demand for chewing, and it must

be very strong, or an Aru man will not look at it. Knowing how

little these people generally work, the mass of produce obtained

annually shows that the islands must be pretty thickly inhabited,

especially along the coasts, as nine-tenths of the whole are

marine productions.

It was on the 2d of July that we left Aru, followed by all the

Macassar praus, fifteen in number, who had agreed to sail in

company. We passed south of Banda,  and then steered due west,

not seeing land for three days, till we sighted some low islands

west of Bouton. We had a strong and steady south-east wind day

and night, which carried us on at about five knots an hour, where

a clipper ship would have made twelve. The sky was continually

cloudy, dark, and threatening, with occasional drizzling showers,

till we were west of Bouru, when it cleared up and we enjoyed the

bright sunny skies of the dry season for the rest of our voyage.

It is about here, therefore that the seasons of the eastern and

western regions of the Archipelago are divided. West of this line

from June to December is generally fine, and often very dry, the

rest of the year being the wet season. East of it the weather is

exceedingly uncertain, each island, and each side of an island,

having its own peculiarities. The difference seems to consist not

so much in the distribution of the rainfall as in that of the

clouds and the moistness of the atmosphere. In Aru, for example,

when we left, the little streams were all dried up, although the

weather was gloomy; while in January, February, and March, when

we had the hottest sunshine and the finest days, they were always

flowing. The driest time of all the year in Aru occurs in

September and October, just as it does in Java and Celebes. The

rainy seasons agree, therefore, with those of the western

islands, although the weather is very different. The Molucca sea

is of a very deep blue colour, quite distinct from the clear

light blue of the Atlantic. In cloudy and dull weather it looks

absolutely black, and when crested with foam has a stern and

angry aspect. The wind continued fair and strong during our whole

voyage, and we reached Macassar in perfect safety on the evening

of the 11th of July, having made the passage from Aru (more than

a thousand miles) in nine and a half days.

My expedition to the Aru Islands had been eminently successful.

Although I had been for months confined to the house by illness,

and had lost much time by the want of the means of locomotion,

and by missing the right season at the right place, I brought

away with me more than nine thousand specimens of natural

objects, of about sixteen hundred distinct species. I had made

the acquaintance of a strange and little-known race of men; I had

become familiar with the traders of the far East; I had revelled

in the delights of exploring a new fauna and flora, one of the

most remarkable and most beautiful and least-known in the world;

and I had succeeded in the main object for which I had undertaken

the journey-namely, to obtain fine specimens of the magnificent

Birds of Paradise, and to be enabled to observe them in their

native forests. By this success I was stimulated to continue my

researches in the Moluccas and New Guinea for nearly five years

longer, and it is still the portion of my travels to which I look

back with the most complete satisfaction.



IN this chapter I propose to give a general sketch of the

physical geography of the Aru Islands, and of their relation to

the surrounding countries; and shall thus be able to incorporate

the information obtained from traders, and from the works of

other naturalists with my own observations in these exceedingly

interesting and little-known regions.

The Aru group may be said to consist of one very large central

island with a number of small ones scattered round it. The great

island is called by the natives and traders "Tang-busar" (great

or mainland), to distinguish it as a whole from Dobbo, or any of

the detached islands. It is of an irregular oblong form, about

eighty miles from north to south, and forty or fifty from east to

west, in which direction it is traversed by three narrow

channels, dividing it into four portions. These channels are

always called rivers by the traders, which puzzled me much till I

passed through one of them, and saw how exceedingly applicable

the name was. The northern channel, called the river of Watelai,

is about a quarter of a mile wide at its entrance, but soon

narrows to abort the eighth of a mile, which width it retains,

with little variation, during its whole, length of nearly fifty

miles, till it again widens at its eastern mouth. Its course is

moderately winding, and the hanks are generally dry and somewhat

elevated. In many places there are low cliffs of hard coralline

limestone, more or less worn by the action of water; while

sometimes level spaces extend from the banks to low ranges of

hills a little inland. A few small streams enter it from right

and left, at the mouths of which are some little rocky islands.

The depth is very regular, being from ten to fifteen fathoms, and

it has thus every feature of a true river, but for the salt water

and the absence of a current. The other two rivers, whose names

are Vorkai and Maykor, are said to be very similar in general

character; but they are rather near together, and have a number

of cross channels intersecting the flat tract between them. On

the south side of Maykor the banks are very rocky, and from

thence to the southern extremity of Aru is an uninterrupted

extent of rather elevated and very rocky country, penetrated by

numerous small streams, in the high limestone cliffs bordering

which the edible birds' nests of Aru are chiefly obtained. All my

informants stated that the two southern rivers are larger than


The whole of Aru is low, but by no means so flat as it has been

represented, or as it appears from the sea. Most of it is dry

rocky ground, with a somewhat undulating surface, rising here and

there into abrupt hillocks, or cut into steep and narrow ravines.

Except the patches of swamp which are found at the mouths of most

of the small rivers, there is no absolutely level ground,

although the greatest elevation is probably not more than two

hundred feet. The rock which everywhere appears in the ravines

and brooks is a coralline limestone, in some places soft and

pliable, in others so hard and crystalline as to resemble our

mountain limestone.

The small islands which surround the central mass are very

numerous; but most of them are on the east side, where they form

a fringe, often extending ten or fifteen miles from the main

islands. On the west there are very few, Wamma and Palo Pabi

being the chief, with Ougia, and Wassia at the north-west

extremity. On the east side the sea is everywhere shallow, and

full of coral; and it is here that the pearl-shells are found

which form one of the chief staples of Aru trade. All the islands

are covered with a dense and very lofty forest.

The physical features here described are of peculiar interest,

and, as far as I am aware, are to some extent unique; for I have

been unable to find any other record of an island of the size of

Aru crossed by channels which exactly resemble true rivers. How

these channels originated were a complete puzzle to me, till,

after a long consideration of the whole of the natural phenomena

presented by these islands, I arrived at a conclusion which I

will now endeavour to explain. There are three ways in which we

may conceive islands which are not volcanic to have been formed,

or to have been reduced to their present condition, by elevation,

by subsidence, or by separation from a continent or larger

island. The existence of coral rock, or of raised beaches far

inland, indicates recent elevation; lagoon coral-islands, and

such as have barrier or encircling reefs, have suffered

subsidence; while our own islands, whose productions are entirely

those of the adjacent continent, have been separated from it. Now

the Aru Islands are all coral rock, and the adjacent sea is

shallow and full of coral, it is therefore evident that they have

been elevated from beneath the ocean at a not very distant epoch.

But if we suppose that elevation to be the first and only cause

of their present condition, we shall find ourselves quite unable

to explain the curious river-channels which divide them. Fissures

during upheaval would not produce the regular width, the regular

depth, or the winding curves which characterise them; and the

action of tides and currents during their elevation might form

straits of irregular width and depth, but not the river-like

channels which actually exist. If, again, we suppose the last

movement to have been one of subsidence, reducing the size of the

islands, these channels are quite as inexplicable; for subsidence

would necessarily lead to the flooding of all low tracts on the

banks of the old rivers, and thus obliterate their courses;

whereas these remain perfect, and of nearly uniform width from

end to end.

Now if these channels have ever been rivers they must have flowed

from some higher regions, and this must have been to the east,

because on the north and west the sea-bottom sinks down at a

short distance from the shore to an unfathomable depth; whereas

on the east. a shallow sea, nowhere exceeding fifty fathoms,

extends quite across to New Guinea, a distance of about a hundred

and fifty miles. An elevation of only three hundred feet would

convert the whole of this sea into moderately high land, and make

the Aru Islands a portion of New Guinea; and the rivers which

have their mouths at Utanata and Wamuka, might then have flowed

on across Aru, in the channels which are now occupied by salt

water. Then the intervening land sunk down, we must suppose the

land that now constitutes Aru to have remained nearly stationary,

a not very improbable supposition, when we consider the great

extent of the shallow sea, and the very small amount of

depression the land need have undergone to produce it.

But the fact of the Aru Islands having once been connected with

New Guinea does not rest on this evidence alone. There is such a

striking resemblance between the productions of the two countries

as only- exists between portions of a common territory. I

collected one hundred species of land-birds in the Aru Islands,

and about eighty of them, have been found on the mainland of New

Guinea. Among these are the great wingless cassowary, two species

of heavy brush turkeys, and two of short winged thrushes; which

could certainly not have passed over the 150 miles of open sea to

the coast of New Guinea. This barrier is equally effectual in the

case of many other birds which live only in the depths of the

forest, as the kinghunters (Dacelo gaudichaudi), the fly-catching

wrens (Todopsis), the great crown pigeon (Goura coronata), and

the small wood doves (Ptilonopus perlatus, P. aurantiifrons, and

P. coronulatus). Now, to show the real effect of such barrier,

let us take the island of Ceram, which is exactly the same

distance from New Guinea, but separated from it by a deep sea.

Cut of about seventy land-birds inhabiting Ceram, only fifteen

are found in New Guinea, and none of these are terrestrial or

forest-haunting species. The cassowary is distinct; the

kingfishers, parrots, pigeons, flycatchers, honeysuckers,

thrushes, and cuckoos, are almost always quite distinct species.

More than this, at least twenty genera, which are common to New

Guinea and Aru, do not extend into Ceram, indicating with a force

which every naturalist will appreciate, that the two latter

countries have received their faunas in a radically different

manner. Again, a true kangaroo is found in Aru, and the same

species occurs in Mysol, which is equally Papuan in its

productions, while either the same, or one closely allied to it,

inhabits New Guinea; but no such animal is found in Ceram, which

is only sixty miles from Mysol. Another small marsupial animal

(Perameles doreyanus) is common to Aru and New Guinea. The

insects show exactly the same results. The butterflies of Aru are

all either New Guinea species, or very slightly modified forms;

whereas those of Ceram are more distinct than are the birds of

the two countries.

It is now generally admitted that we may safely reason on such

facts as those, which supply a link in the defective geological

record. The upward and downward movements which any country has

undergone, and the succession of such movements, can be

determined with much accuracy; but geology alone can tell us

nothing of lands which have entirely disappeared beneath the

ocean. Here physical geography and the distribution of animals

and plants are of the greatest service. By ascertaining the depth

of the seas separating one country from another, we can form some

judgment of the changes which are taking place. If there are

other evidences of subsidence, a shallow sea  implies a former

connexion of the adjacent lands; but i this evidence is wanting,

or if there is reason to suspect a rising of the land, then the

shallow sea may be the result of that rising, and may indicate

that the two countries will be joined at some future time, but

not that they have previously been so. The nature of the animals

and plants inhabiting these countries will, however, almost

always enable us to determine this question. Mr. Darwin has shown

us how we may determine in almost every case, whether an island

has ever been connected with a continent or larger land, by the

presence or absence of terrestrial Mammalia and reptiles. What he

terms "oceanic islands "possess neither of these groups of

animals, though they may have a luxuriant vegetation, and a fair

number of birds, insects, and landshells; and we therefore

conclude that they have originated in mid-ocean, and have never

been connected with the nearest masses of land. St. Helena,

Madeira, and New Zealand are examples of oceanic islands. They

possess all other classes of life, because these have means of

dispersion over wide spaces of sea, which terrestrial mammals and

birds have not, as is fully explained in Sir Charles Lyell's

"Principles of Geology," and Mr. Darwin's "Origin of Species." On

the other hand, an island may never have been actually connected

with the adjacent continents or islands, and yet may possess

representatives of all classes of animals, because many

terrestrial mammals and some reptiles have the means of passing

over short distances of sea. But in these cases the number of

species that have thus migrated will be very small, and there

will be great deficiencies even in birds and flying insects,

which we should imagine could easily cross over. The island of

Timor (as I have already shown in Chapter XIII) bears this

relation to Australia; for while it contains several birds and

insects of Australian forms, no Australian mammal or reptile is

found in it, and a great number of the most abundant and

characteristic forms of Australian birds and insects are entirely

absent. Contrast this with the British Islands, in, which a large

proportion of the plants, insects, reptiles, and Mammalia of the

adjacent parts of the continent are fully represented, while

there are no remarkable deficiencies of extensive groups, such as

always occur when there is reason to believe there has been no

such connexion. The case of Sumatra, Borneo, and Java, and the

Asiatic continent is equally clear; many large Mammalia,

terrestrial birds, and reptiles being common to all, while a

large number more are of closely allied forms. Now, geology has

taught us that this representation by allied forms in the same

locality implies lapse of time, and we therefore infer that in

Great Britain, where almost every species is absolutely identical

with those on the Continent, the separation has been very recent;

while in Sumatra and Java, where a considerable number of the

continental species are represented by allied forms, the

separation was more remote.

From these examples we may see how important a supplement to

geological evidence is the study of the geographical distribution

of animals and plants, in determining the former condition of the

earth's surface; and how impossible it is to understand the

former without taking the latter into account. The productions of

the Aru Islands offer the strangest evidence, that at no very

distant epoch they formed a part of New Guinea; and the peculiar

physical features which I have described, indicate that they must

have stood at very nearly the same level then as they do now,

having been separated by the subsidence of the great plain which

formerly connected them with it.

Persons who have formed the usual ideas of the vegetation of the

tropics who picture to themselves the abundance and brilliancy of

the flowers, and the magnificent appearance of hundreds of forest

trees covered with masses of coloured blossoms, will be surprised

to hear, that though vegetation in Aru is highly luxuriant and

varied, and would afford abundance of fine and curious plants to

adorn our hothouses, yet bright and showy flowers are, as a

general rule, altogether absent, or so very scarce as to produce

no effect whatever on the general scenery. To give particulars: I

have visited five distinct localities in the islands, I have

wandered daily in the forests, and have passed along upwards of a

hundred miles of coast and river during a period of six months,

much of it very fine weather, and till just as I was about to

leave, I never saw a single plant of striking brilliancy or

beauty, hardly a shrub equal to a hawthorn, or a climber equal to

a honeysuckle! It cannot be said that the flowering season had

not arrived, for I saw many herbs, shrubs, and forest trees in

flower, but all had blossoms of a green or greenish-white tint,

not superior to our lime-trees. Here and there on the river banks

and coasts are a few Convolvulaceae, not equal to our garden

Ipomaeas, and in the deepest shades of the forest some fine

scarlet and purple Zingiberaceae, but so few and scattered as to

be nothing amid the mass of green and flowerless vegetation. Yet

the noble Cycadaceae and screw-pines, thirty or forty feet high,

the elegant tree ferns, the lofty palms, and the variety of

beautiful and curious plants which everywhere meet the eye,

attest the warmth and moisture of the tropics, and the fertility

of the soil.

It is true that Aru seemed to me exceptionally poor in flowers,

but this is only an exaggeration of a general tropical feature;

for my whole experience in the equatorial regions of the west and

the east has convinced me, that in the most luxuriant parts of

the tropics, flowers are less abundant, on the average less

showy, and are far less effective in adding colour to the

landscape than in temperate climates. I have never seen in the

tropics such brilliant masses of colour as even England can show

in her furze-clad commons, her heathery mountain-sides, her

glades of wild hyacinths, her fields of poppies, her meadows of

buttercups and orchises--carpets of yellow, purple, azure-blue,

and fiery crimson, which the tropics can rarely exhibit. We, have

smaller masses of colour in our hawthorn and crab trees, our

holly and mountain-ash, our boom; foxgloves, primroses, and

purple vetches, which clothe with gay colours the whole length

and breadth of our land, These beauties are all common. They are

characteristic of the country and the climate; they have not to

be sought for, but they gladden the eye at every step. In the

regions of the equator, on the other hand, whether it be forest

or savannah, a sombre green clothes universal nature. You may

journey for hours, and even for days, and meet with nothing to

break the monotony. Flowers are everywhere rare, and anything at

all striking is only to be met with at very distant intervals.

The idea that nature exhibits gay colours in the tropics, and

that the general aspect of nature is there more bright and varied

in hue than with us, has even been made the foundation of

theories of art, and we have been forbidden to use bright colours

in our garments, and in the decorations of our dwellings, because

it was supposed that we should be thereby acting in opposition to

the teachings of nature. The argument itself is a very poor one,

since it might with equal justice be maintained, that as we

possess faculties for the appreciation of colours, we should make

up for the deficiencies of nature and use the gayest tints in

those regions where the landscape is most monotonous. But the

assumption on which the argument is founded is totally false, so

that even if the reasoning were valid, we need not be afraid of

outraging nature, by decorating our houses and our persons with

all those gay hues which are so lavishly spread over our fields

and mountains, our hedges, woods, and meadows.

It is very easy to see what has led to this erroneous view of the

nature of tropical vegetation. In our hothouses and at our

flower-shows we gather together the finest flowering plants from

the most distant regions of the earth, and exhibit them in a

proximity to each other which never occurs in nature. A hundred

distinct plants, all with bright, or strange, or gorgeous

flowers, make a wonderful show when brought together; but perhaps

no two of these plants could ever be seen together in a state of

nature, each inhabiting a distant region or a different station.

Again, all moderately warm extra-European countries are mixed up

with the tropics in general estimation, and a vague idea is

formed that whatever is preeminently beautiful must come from the

hottest parts of the earth. But the fact is quite the contrary.

Rhododendrons and azaleas are plants of temperate regions, the

grandest lilies are from temperate Japan, and a large proportion

of our most showy flowering plants are natives of the Himalayas,

of the Cape, of the United States, of Chili, or of China and

Japan, all temperate regions. True, there are a great number of

grand and gorgeous flowers in the tropics, but the proportion

they bear to the mass of the vegetation is exceedingly small; so

that what appears an anomaly is nevertheless a fact, and the

effect of flowers on the general aspect of nature is far less in

the equatorial than in the temperate regions of the earth.




AFTER my return from Gilolo to Ternate, in March 1858, I made

arrangements for my long-wished-for voyage to the mainland of New

Guinea, where I anticipated that my collections would surpass

those which I had formed at the Aru Islands. The poverty of

Ternate in articles used by Europeans was shown, by my searching

in vain through all the stores for such common things as flour,

metal spoons, wide-mouthed phials, beeswax, a penknife, and a

stone or metal pestle and mortar. I took with me four servants:

my head man Ali, and a Ternate lad named Jumaat (Friday), to

shoot; Lahagi, a steady middle-aged man, to cut timber and assist

me in insect-collecting; and Loisa, a Javanese cook. As I knew I

should have to build a house at Dorey, where I was going, I took

with me eighty cadjans, or waterproof mats, made of pandanus

leaves, to cover over my baggage on first landing, and to help to

roof my house afterwards.

We started on the 25th of March in the schooner Hester Helena,

belonging to my friend Mr. Duivenboden, and bound on a trading

voyage along the north coast of New Guinea. Having calms and

light airs, we were three days reaching Gane, near the south end

of Gilolo, where we stayed to fill. up our water-casks and buy a

few provisions. We obtained fowls, eggs, sago, plantains, sweet

potatoes, yellow pumpkins, chilies, fish, and dried deer's meat;

and on the afternoon of the 29th proceeded on our voyage to Dorey

harbour. We found it, however, by no means easy to get along; for

so near to the equator the monsoons entirely fail of their

regularity, and after passing the southern point of Gilolo we had

calms, light puffs of wind, and contrary currents, which kept us

for five days in sight of the same islands between it and Poppa.

A squall them brought us on to the entrance of Dampier's Straits,

where we were again becalmed, and were three more days creeping

through them. Several native canoes now came off to us from

Waigiou on one side, and Batanta on the other, bringing a few

common shells, palm-leaf mats, cocoa-nuts, and pumpkins. They

were very extravagant in their demands, being accustomed to sell

their trifles to whalers and China ships, whose crews will

purchase anything at ten times its value. My only purchases were

a float belonging to a turtle-spear, carved to resemble a bird,

and a very well made palm-leaf box, for which articles I gave a

copper ring and a yard of calico. The canoes were very narrow and

furnished with an outrigger, and in some of them there was only

one man, who seemed to think nothing of coming out alone eight or

ten miles from shore. The people were Papuans, much resembling

the natives of Aru.

When we had got out of the Straits, and were fairly in the great

Pacific Ocean, we had a steady wind for the first time since

leaving Ternate, but unfortunately it was dead ahead, and we had

to beat against it, tacking on and off the coast of New Guinea. I

looked with intense interest on those rugged mountains,

retreating ridge behind ridge into the interior, where the foot

of civilized man had never trod. There was the country of the

cassowary and the tree-kangaroo, and those dark forests produced

the most extraordinary and the most beautiful of the feathered

inhabitants of the earth--the varied species of Birds of

Paradise. A few days more and I hoped to be in pursuit of these,

and of the scarcely less beautiful insects which accompany them.

We had still, however, for several days only calms and light

head-winds, and it was not till the l0th of April that a fine

westerly breeze set in, followed by a squally night, which kept

us off the entrance of Dorey harbour. The next morning we

entered, and came to anchor off the small island of Mansinam, on

which dwelt two German missionaries, Messrs. Otto and Geisler.

The former immediately came on board to give us welcome, and

invited us to go on shore and breakfast with him. We were then

introduced to his companion who was suffering dreadfully from an

abscess on the heel, which had confined him to the house for six

months--and to his wife, a young German woman, who had been out

only three months. Unfortunately she could speak no Malay or

English, and had to guess at our compliments on her excellent

breakfast by the justice we did to it.

These missionaries were working men, and had been sent out, as

being more useful among savages than persons of a higher class.

They had been here about two years, and Mr. Otto had already

learnt to speak the Papuan language with fluency, and had begun

translating some portions of the Bible. The language, however, is

so poor that a considerable number of Malay words have to be

used; and it is very questionable whether it is possible to

convey any idea of such a book, to a people in so low a state of

civilization. The only nominal converts yet made are a few of the

women; and some few of the children attend school, and are being

taught to read, but they make little progress. There is one

feature of this mission which I believe will materially interfere

with its moral effect. The missionaries are allowed to trade to

eke out the very small salaries granted them from Europe, and of

course are obliged to carry out the trade principle of buying

cheap and selling dear, in order to make a profit. Like all

savages the natives are quite careless of the future, and when

their small rice crops are gathered they bring a large portion of

it to the missionaries, and sell it for knives, beads, axes,

tobacco, or any other articles they may require. A few months

later, in the wet season, when food is scarce, they come to buy

it back again, and give in exchange tortoiseshell, tripang, wild

nutmegs, or other produce. Of course the rice is sold at a much

higher rate than it was bought, as is perfectly fair and just--

and the operation is on the whole thoroughly beneficial to the

natives, who would otherwise consume and waste their food when it

was abundant, and then starve--yet I cannot imagine that the

natives see it in this light. They must look upon the trading

missionaries with some suspicion, and cannot feel so sure of

their teachings being disinterested, as would be the case if they

acted like the Jesuits in Singapore. The first thing to be done

by the missionary in attempting to improve savages, is to

convince them by his actions that lie comes among them for their

benefit only, and not for any private ends of his own. To do this

he must act in a different way from other men, not trading and

taking advantage of the necessities of those who want to sell,

but rather giving to those who are in distress. It would he well

if he conformed himself in some degree to native customs, and

then endeavoured to show how these customs might be gradually

modified, so as to be more healthful and more agreeable. A few

energetic and devoted men acting in this way might probably

effect a decided moral improvement on the lowest savage tribes,

whereas trading missionaries, teaching what Jesus said, but not

doing as He did, can scarcely be expected to do more than give

them a very little of the superficial varnish of religion.

Dorey harbour is in a fine bay, at one extremity of which an

elevated point juts out, and, with two or three small islands,

forms a sheltered anchorage. The only vessel it contained when we

arrived was a Dutch brig, laden with coals for the use of a war-

steamer, which was expected daily, on an exploring expedition

along the coasts of New Guinea, for the purpose of fixing on a

locality for a colony. In the evening we paid it a visit, and

landed at the village of Dorey, to look out for a place where I

could build my house. Mr. Otto also made arrangements for me with

some of the native chiefs, to send men to cut wood, rattans, and

bamboo the next day.

The villages of Mansinam and Dorey presented some features quite

new to me. The houses all stand completely in the water, and are

reached by long rude bridges. They are very low, with the roof

shaped like a large boat, bottom upwards. The posts which support

the houses, bridges, and platforms are small crooked sticks,

placed without any regularity, and looking as if they were

tumbling down. The floors are also formed of sticks, equally

irregular, and so loose and far apart that I found it almost

impossible to walls on them. The walls consist of bits of boards,

old boats, rotten mats, attaps, and palm-leaves, stuck in anyhow

here and there, and having altogether the most wretched and

dilapidated appearance it is possible to conceive. Under the

eaves of many of the houses hang human skulls, the trophies of

their battles with the savage Arfaks of the interior, who often

come to attack them. A large boat-shaped council-house is

supported on larger posts, each of which is grossly carved to

represent a naked male or female human figure, and other carvings

still more revolting are placed upon the platform before the

entrance. The view of an ancient lake-dweller's village, given as

the frontispiece of Sir Charles Lyell's "Antiquity of Man," is

chiefly founded on a sketch of this very village of Dorey; but

the extreme regularity of the structures there depicted has no

place in the original, any more than it probably had in the

actual lake-villages.

The people who inhabit these miserable huts are very similar to

the Ke and Aru islanders, and many of them are very handsome,

being tall and well-made, with well-cut features and large

aquiline noses. Their colour is a deep brown, often approaching

closely to black, and the fine mop-like heads of frizzly hair

appear to be more common than elsewhere, and are considered a

great ornament, a long six-pronged bamboo fork being kept stuck

in them to serve the purpose of a comb; and this is assiduously

used at idle moments to keep the densely growing mass from

becoming matted and tangled. The majority have short woolly hair,

which does not seem capable of an equally luxuriant development.

A growth of hair somewhat similar to this, and almost as

abundant, is found among the half-breeds between the Indian and

Negro in South America. Can this be an indication that the

Papuans are a mixed race?

For the first three days after our arrival I was fully occupied

from morning to night building a house, with the assistance of a

dozen Papuans and my own men. It was immense trouble to get our

labourers to work, as scarcely one of them could speak a word of

Malay; and it was only by the most energetic gesticulations, and

going through a regular pantomime of what was wanted, that we

could get them to do anything. If we made them understand that a

few more poles were required, which two could have easily cut,

six or eight would insist upon going together, although we needed

their assistance in other things. One morning ten of them came to

work, bringing only one chopper between them, although they knew

I had none ready for use.

I chose a place about two hundred yards from the beach, on an

elevated ground, by the side of the chief path from the village

of Dorey to the provision-grounds and the forest. Within twenty

yards was a little stream; which furnished us with excellent

water and a nice place to bathe. There was only low underwood to

clear away, while some fine forest trees stood at a short

distance, and we cut down the wood for about twenty yards round

to give us light and air. The house, about twenty feet by

fifteen; was built entirely of wood, with a bamboo floor, a

single door of thatch, and a large window, looking over the sea,

at which I fixed my table, and close beside it my bed, within a

little partition. I bought a number of very large palm-leaf mats

of the natives, which made excellent walls; while the mats I had

brought myself were used on the roof, and were covered over with

attaps as soon as we could get them made. Outside, and rather

behind, was a little hut, used for cooking, and a bench, roofed

over, where my men could sit to skin birds and animals. When all

was finished, I had my goods and stores brought up, arranged them

conveniently inside, and then paid my Papuans with knives and

choppers, and sent them away. The next day our schooner left for

the more eastern islands, and I found myself fairly established

as the only European inhabitant of the vast island of New Guinea.

As we had some doubt about the natives, we slept at first with

loaded guns beside us and a watch set; but after a few days,

finding the people friendly, and feeling sure that they would not

venture to attack five well-armed men, we took no further

precautions. We had still a day or two's work in finishing up the

house, stopping leaks, putting up our hanging shelves for drying

specimens inside and out, and making the path down to the water,

and a clear dry space in front of the horse.

On the 17th, the steamer not having arrived, the coal-ship left,

having lain here a month, according to her contract; and on the

same day my hunters went out to shoot for the first time, and

brought home a magnificent crown pigeon and a few common birds.

The next day they were more successful, and I was delighted to

see them return with a Bird of Paradise in full plumage, a pair

of the fine Papuan lories (Lorius domicella), four other lories

and parroquets, a grackle (Gracula dumonti), a king-hunter

(Dacelo gaudichaudi), a racquet-tailed kingfisher (Tanysiptera

galatea), and two or three other birds of less beauty.

I went myself to visit the native village on the hill behind

Dorey, and took with me a small present of cloth, knives, and

beads, to secure the good-will of the chief, and get him to send

some men to catch or shoot birds for me. The houses were

scattered about among rudely cultivated clearings. Two which I

visited consisted of a central passage, on each side of which

opened short passages, admitting to two rooms, each of which was

a house accommodating a separate family. They were elevated at

least fifteen feet above the ground, on a complete forest of

poles, and were so rude and dilapidated that some of the small

passages had openings in the floor of loose sticks, through which

a child might fall. The inhabitants seemed rather uglier than

those at Dorey village. They are, no doubt, the true indigenes of

this part of New Guinea, living in the interior, and subsisting

by cultivation and hunting. The Dorey men, on the other hand, are

shore-dwellers, fishers and traders in a small way, and have thus

the character of a colony who have migrated from another

district. These hillmen or "Arfaks "differed much in physical

features. They were generally black, but some were brown like

Malays. Their hair, though always more or less frizzly, was

sometimes short and matted, instead of being long, loose, and

woolly; and this seemed to be a constitutional difference, not

the effect of care and cultivation. Nearly half of them were

afflicted with the scurfy skin-disease. The old chief seemed much

pleased with his present, and promised (through an interpreter I

brought with me) to protect my men when they came there shooting,

and also to procure me some birds and animals. While conversing,

they smoked tobacco of their own growing, in pipes cut from a

single piece of wood with a long upright handle.

We had arrived at Dorey about the end of the wet season, when the

whole country was soaked with moisture The native paths were so

neglected as to be often mere tunnels closed over with

vegetation, and in such places there was always a fearful

accumulation of mud. To the naked Papuan this is no obstruction.

He wades through it, and the next watercourse makes him clean

again; but to myself, wearing boots and trousers, it was a most

disagreeable thing to have to go up to my knees in a mud-hole

every morning. The man I brought with me to cut wood fell ill

soon after we arrived, or I would have set him to clear fresh

paths in the worst places. For the first ten days it generally

rained every afternoon and all night r but by going out every

hour of fine weather, I managed to get on tolerably with my

collections of birds and insects, finding most of those collected

by Lesson during his visit in the Coquille, as well as many new

ones. It appears, however, that Dorey is not the place for Birds

of Paradise, none of the natives being accustomed to preserve

them. Those sold here are all brought from Amberbaki, about a

hundred miles west, where the Doreyans go to trade.

The islands in the bay, with the low lands near the coast, seem

to have been formed by recently raised coral reef's, and are much

strewn with masses of coral but little altered. The ridge behind

my house, which runs out to the point, is also entirely coral

rock, although there are signs of a stratified foundation in the

ravines, and the rock itself is more compact and crystalline. It

is therefore, probably older, a more recent elevation having

exposed the low grounds and islands. On the other side of the bay

rise the great mass of the Arfak mountains, said by the French

navigators to be about ten thousand feet high, and inhabited by

savage tribes. These are held in great dread by the Dorey people,

who have often been attacked and plundered by them, and have some

of their skulls hanging outside their houses. If I was seem going

into the forest anywhere in the direction of the mountains, the

little boys of the village would shout after me, "Arfaki!

Arfaki?" just as they did after Lesson nearly forty years before.

On the 15th of May the Dutch war-steamer Etna arrived; but, as

the coals had gone, it was obliged to stay till they came back.

The captain knew when the coalship was to arrive, and how long it

was chartered to stay at Dorey, and could have been back in time,

but supposed it would wait for him, and so did not hurry himself.

The steamer lay at anchor just opposite my house, and I had the

advantage of hearing the half-hourly bells struck, which was very

pleasant after the monotonous silence of the forest. The captain,

doctor, engineer, and some other of the officers paid me visits;

the servants came to the brook to wash clothes, and the son of

the Prince of Tidore, with one or two companions, to bathe;

otherwise I saw little of them, and was not disturbed by visitors

so much as I had expected to be. About this time the weather set

in pretty fine, but neither birds nor insects became much more

abundant, and new birds -were very scarce. None of the Birds of

Paradise except the common one were ever met with, and we were

still searching in vain for several of the fine birds which

Lesson had obtained here. Insects were tolerably abundant, but

were not on the average so fine as those of Amboyna, and I

reluctantly came to the conclusion that Dorey was not a good

collecting locality. Butterflies were very scarce, arid were

mostly the same as those which I had obtained at Aru.

Among the insects of other orders, the most curious and novel

were a group of horned flies, of which I obtained four distinct

species, settling on fallen trees and decaying trunks. These

remarkable insects, which have been described by Mr. W. W.

Saunders as a new genus, under the name of Elaphomia or deer-

flies, are about half an inch long, slender-bodied, and with very

long legs, which they draw together so as to elevate their bodies

high above the surface they are standing upon. The front pair of

legs are much shorter, and these are often stretched directly

forwards, so as to resemble antenna. The horns spring from

beneath the eye, and seem to be a prolongation of the lower part

of the orbit. In the largest and most singular species, named

Elaphomia cervicornis or the stag-horned deer-fly, these horns

are nearly as long as the body, having two branches, with two

small snags near their bifurcation, so as to resemble the horns

of a stag. They are black, with the tips pale, while the body and

legs are yellowish brown, and the eyes (when alive) violet and

green. The next species (Elaphomia wallacei) is of a dark brown

colour, banded and spotted with yellow. The horns are about one-

third the length of the insect, broad, flat, and of an elongated

triangular foam. They are of a beautiful pink colour, edged with

black, and with a pale central stripe. The front part of the head

is also pink, and the eyes violet pink, with a green stripe

across them, giving the insect a very elegant and singular

appearance. The third species (Elaphomia alcicornis, the elk-

horned deer-fly) is a little smaller than the two already

described, but resembling in colour Elaphomia wallacei. The horns

are very remarkable, being suddenly dilated into a flat plate,

strongly toothed round the outer margin, and strikingly

resembling the horns of the elk, after which it has been named.

They are of a yellowish colour, margined with brown, and tipped

with black on the three upper teeth. The fourth species

(Elaphomia brevicornis, the short-horned deer-fly) differs

considerably from the rest. It is stouter in form, of a nearly

black colour, with a yellow ring at the base of the abdomen; the

wings have dusky stripes, and the head is compressed and dilated

laterally, with very small flat horns; which are black with a

pale centre, and look exactly like the rudiment of the horns of

the two preceding species. None of the females have any trace of

the horns, ane Mr. Saunders places in the same genus a species

which has no horns in either sex (Elaphomia polita). It is of a

shining black colour, and resembles Elaphomia cervicornis in

form, size, and general appearance. The figures above given

represent these insects of their natural size and in

characteristic attitudes.

The natives seldom brought me anything. They are poor creatures,

and, rarely shoot a bird, pig, or kangaroo, or even the sluggish

opossum-like Cuscus. The tree-kangaroos are found here, but must

be very scarce, as my hunters, although out daily in the forest,

never once saw them. Cockatoos, lories, and parroquets were

really the only common birds. Even pigeons were scarce, and in

little variety, although we occasionally got the fine crown

pigeon, which was always welcome as an addition to our scantily

furnished larder.

Just before the steamer arrived I had wounded my ankle by

clambering among the trunks and branches of fallen trees (which

formed my best hunting grounds for insects), and, as usual with

foot wounds in this climate, it turned into an obstinate ulcer,

keeping me in the house for several days. When it healed up it

was followed by an internal inflammation of the foot, which by

the doctor's advice I poulticed incessantly for four or five

days, bringing out a severe inflamed swelling on the tendon above

the heel. This had to be leeched, and lanced, and doctored with

ointments and poultices for several weeks, till I was almost

driven to despair,--for the weather was at length fine, and I was

tantalized by seeing grand butterflies flying past my door, and

thinking of the twenty or thirty new species of insects that I

ought to be getting every day. And this, too, in New Guinea--a

country which I might never visit again,--a country which no

naturalist had ever resided in before,--a country which contained

more strange and new and beautiful natural objects than any other

part of the globe. The naturalist will be able to appreciate my

feelings, sitting from morning to night in my little hut, unable

to move without a crutch, and my only solace the birds my hunters

brought in every afternoon, and the few insects caught by my

Ternate man, Lahagi, who now went out daily in my place, but who

of course did not get a fourth part of what I should have

obtained. To add to my troubles all my men were more or less ill,

some with fever, others with dysentery or ague; at one time there

were three of them besides myself all helpless, the coon alone

being well, and having enough to do to wait upon us. The Prince

of Tidore and the Resident of Panda were both on board the

steamer, and were seeking Birds of Paradise, sending men round in

every direction, so that there was no chance of my getting even

native skins of the rarer kinds; and any birds, insects, or

animals the Dorey people had to sell were taken on board the

steamer, where purchasers were found for everything, and where a

larger variety of articles were offered in exchange than I had to


After a month's close confinement in the house I was at length

able to go out a little, and about the same time I succeeded in

getting a boat and six natives to take Ali and Lahagi to

Amberbaki, and to bring them back at the end of a month. Ali was

charged to buy all the Birds of Paradise he could get, and to

shoot and skin all other rare or new birds; and Lahagi was to

collect insects, which I hoped might be more abundant than at

Dorey. When I recommenced my daily walks in search of insects, I

found a great change in the neighbourhood, and one very agreeable

to me. All the time I had been laid up the ship's crew and the

Javanese soldiers who had been brought in a tender (a sailing

ship which had arrived soon after the Etna), had been employed

cutting down, sawing, and splitting large trees for firewood, to

enable the steamer to get back to Amboyna if the coal-ship did

not return; and they had also cleared a number of wide, straight

paths through the forest in various directions, greatly to the

astonishment of the natives, who could not make out what it all

meant. I had now a variety of walks, and a good deal of dead wood

on which to search for insects; but notwithstanding these

advantages, they were not nearly so plentiful as I had found them

at Sarawak, or Amboyna, or Batchian, confirming my opinion that

Dorey was not a good locality. It is quite probable, however,

that at a station a few miles in the interior, away from the

recently elevated coralline rocks and the influence of the sea

air, a much more abundant harvest might be obtained.

One afternoon I went on board the steamer to return the captain's

visit, and was shown some very nice sketches (by one of the

lieutenants), made on the south coast, and also at the Arfak

mountain, to which they had made an excursion. From these and the

captain's description, it appeared that the people of Arfak were

similar to those of Dorey, and I could hear nothing of the

straight-haired race which Lesson says inhabits the interior, but

which no one has ever seen, and the account of which I suspect

has originated in some mistake. The captain told me he had made a

detailed survey of part of the south coast, and if the coal

arrived should go away at once to Humboldt Pay, in longitude 141

east, which is the line up to which the Dutch claim New Guinea.

On board the tender I found a brother naturalist, a German named

Rosenberg, who was draughtsman to the surveying staff. He had

brought two men with him to shoot and skin birds, and had been

able to purchase a few rare skins from the natives. Among these

was a pair of the superb Paradise Pie (Astrapia nigra) in

tolerable preservation. They were brought from the island of

Jobie, which may be its native country, as it certainly is of the

rarer species of crown pigeon (Goura steursii), one of which was

brought alive and sold on board. Jobie, however, is a very

dangerous place, and sailors are often murdered there when on

shore; sometimes the vessels themselves being attacked.

Wandammen, on the mainland opposite Jobie, inhere there are said

to be plenty of birds, is even worse, and at either of these

places my life would not have been worth a week's purchase had I

ventured to live alone and unprotected as at Dorey. On board the

steamer they had a pair of tree kangaroos alive. They differ

chiefly from the ground-kangaroo in having a more hairy tail, not

thickened at the base, and not used as a prop; and by the

powerful claws on the fore-feet, by which they grasp the bark and

branches, and seize the leaves on which they feed. They move

along by short jumps on their hind-feet, which do not seem

particularly well adapted for climbing trees. It has been

supposed that these tree-kangaroos are a special adaptation to

the swampy, half-drowned forests of, New Guinea, in place of the

usual form of the group, which is adapted only to dry ground. Mr.

Windsor Earl makes much of this theory, but, unfortunately for

it, the tree-kangaroos are chiefly found in the northern

peninsula of New Guinea, which is entirely composed of hills and

mountains with very little flat land, while the kangaroo of the

low flat Aru Islands (Dorcopsis asiaticus) is a ground species. A

more probable supposition seems to lie, that the tree-kangaroo

has been modified to enable it to feed on foliage in the vast

forests of New Guinea, as these form the great natural feature

which distinguishes that country from Australia.

On June 5th, the coal-ship arrived, having been sent back from

Amboyna, with the addition of some fresh stores for the steamer.

The wood, which had been almost all taken on board, was now

unladen again, the coal taken in, and on the 17th both steamer

and tender left for Humboldt Bay. We were then a little quiet

again, and got something to eat; for while the vessels were here

every bit of fish or vegetable was taken on board, and I had

often to make a small parroquet serve for two meals. My men now

returned from Amberbaki, but, alas brought me almost nothing.

They had visited several villages, and even went two days'

journey into the interior, but could find no skins of Birds of

Paradise to purchase, except the common kind, and very few even

of those. The birds found were the same as at Dorey, but were

still scarcer. None of the natives anywhere near the coast shoot

or prepare Birds of Paradise, which come from far in the interior

over two or three ranges of mountains, passing by barter from

village to village till they reach the sea. There the natives of

Dorey buy them, and on their return home sell them .to the Bugis

or Ternate traders. It is therefore hopeless for a traveller to

go to any particular place on the coast of New Guinea where rare

Paradise birds may have been bought, in hopes of obtaining

freshly killed specimens from the natives; and it also shows the

scarcity of these birds in any one locality, since from the

Amberbaki district, a celebrated place, where at least five or

six species have been procured, not one of the rarer ones has

been obtained this year. The Prince of Tidore, who would

certainly have got them if any were to be had, was obliged to put

up with a few of the common yellow ones. I think it probable that

a longer residence at Dorey, a little farther in the interior,

might show that several of the rarer kinds were found there, as I

obtained a single female of the fine scale-breasted Ptiloris

magnificus. I was told at Ternate of a bird that is certainly not

yet known in Europe, a black King Paradise Bird, with the curled

tail and beautiful side plumes of the common species, but all the

rest of the plumage glossy black. The people of Dorey knew

nothing about this, although they recognised by description most

of the otter species.

When the steamer left, I was suffering from a severe attack of

fever. In about a week I got over this, but it was followed by

such a soreness of the whole inside of the mouth, tongue, and

gums, that for many days I could put nothing solid between my

lips, but was obliged to subsist entirely on slops, although in

other respects very well. At the same time two of my men again

fell ill, one with fever, the other with dysentery, and both got

very bad. I did what I could for them with my small stock of

medicines, but they lingered on for some weeks, till on June 26th

poor Jumaat died. He was about eighteen years of age, a native, I

believe, of Bouton, and a quiet lad, not very active, but doing

his work pretty steadily, and as well as he was able. As my men

were all Mahometans, I let them bury him in their own fashion,

giving them some new cotton cloth for a shroud.

On July 6th the steamer returned from the eastward. The weather

was still terribly wet, when, according to rule, it should have

been fine and dry. We had scarcely anything to eat, and were all

of us ill. Fevers, colds, and dysentery were continually

attacking us, and made me long I-o get away from New Guinea, as

much as ever I had longed to come there. The captain of the Etna

paid me a visit, and gave me a very interesting account of his

trip. They had stayed at Humboldt Bay several days, and found it

a much more beautiful and more interesting place than Dorey, as

well as a better harbour. The natives were quite unsophisticated,

being rarely visited except by stray whalers, and they were

superior to the Dorey people, morally and physically. They went

quite naked. Their houses were some in the water and some inland,

and were all neatly and well built; their fields were well

cultivated, and the paths to them kept clear and open, in which

respects Dorey is abominable. They were shy at first, and opposed

the boats with hostile demonstrations, beading their bows, and

intimating that they would shoot if an attempt was made to land.

Very judiciously the captain gave way, but threw on shore a few

presents, and after two or three trials they were permitted to

land, and to go about and see the country, and were supplied with

fruits and vegetables. All communication was carried on with them

by signs--the Dorey interpreter, who accompanied the steamer,

being unable to understand a word of their language. No new birds

or animals were obtained, but in their ornaments the feathers of

Paradise birds were seen, showing, as might be expected, that

these birds range far in this direction, and probably all over

New Guinea.

It is curious that a rudimental love of art should co-exist with

such a very low state of civilization. The people of Dorey are

great carvers and painters. The outsides of the houses, wherever

there is a plank, are covered with rude yet characteristic

figures. The high-peaked prows of their boats are ornamented with

masses of open filagree work, cut out of solid blocks of wood,

and often of very tasteful design, As a figurehead, or pinnacle,

there is often a human figure, with a head of cassowary feathers

to imitate the Papuan "mop." The floats of their fishing-lines,

the wooden beaters used in tempering the clay for their pottery,

their tobacco-boxes, and other household articles, are covered

with carving of tasteful and often elegant design. Did we not

already know that such taste and skill are compatible with utter

barbarism, we could hardly believe that the same people are, in

other matters, utterly wanting in all sense of order, comfort, or

decency. Yet such is the case. They live in the most miserable,

crazy, and filthy hovels, which are utterly destitute of anything

that can be called furniture; not a stool, or bench, or board is

seen in them, no brush seems to be known, and the clothes they

wear are often filthy bark, or rags, or sacking. Along the paths

where they daily pass to and from their provision grounds, not an

overhanging bough or straggling briar ever seems to he cut, so

that you have to brush through a rank vegetation, creep under

fallen trees and spiny creepers, and wade through pools of mud

and mire, which cannot dry up because the sun is not allowed to

penetrate. Their food is almost wholly roots and vegetables, with

fish or game only as an occasional luxury, and they are

consequently very subject to various skin diseases, the children

especially being often miserable-looking objects, blotched all

over with eruptions and sores. If these people are not savages,

where shall we find any? Yet they have all a decided love for the

fine arts, and spend their leisure time in executing works whose

good taste and elegance would often be admired in our schools of


During the latter part of my stay in New Guinea the weather was

very wet, my only shooter was ill, and birds became scarce, so

that my only resource was insect-hunting. I worked very hard

every hour of fine weather, and daily obtained a number of new

species. Every dead tree and fallen log was searched and searched

again; and among the dry and rotting leaves, which still hung on

certain trees which had been cut down, I found an abundant

harvest of minute Coleoptera. Although I never afterwards found

so many large and handsome beetles as in Borneo, yet I obtained

here a great variety of species. For the first two or three

weeks, while I was searching out the best localities, I took

about 30 different kinds of beetles n day, besides about half

that number of butterflies, and a few of the other orders. But

afterwards, up to the very last week, I averaged 49 species a

day. On the 31st of May, I took 78 distinct sorts, a larger

number than I had ever captured before, principally obtained

among dead trees and under rotten bark. A good long walk on a

fine day up the hill, and to the plantations of the natives,

capturing everything not very common that came in my way, would

produce about 60 species; but on the last day of June I brought

home no less than 95 distinct kinds of beetles, a larger number

than I ever obtained in one day before or since. It was a fine

hot day, and I devoted it to a search among dead leaves, beating

foliage, and hunting under rotten bark, in all the best stations

I had discovered during my walks. I was out from ten in the

morning till three in the afternoon, and it took me six hours'

work at home to pin and set out all the specimens, and to

separate the species. Although T had already been working this

shot daily for two months and a half, and had obtained over 800

species of Coleoptera, this day's work added 32 new ones. Among

these were 4 Longicorns, 2 Caribidae, 7 Staphylinidae, 7

Curculionidae, 2 Copridae, 4 Chrysomelidae, 3 Heteromera, 1

Elates, and 1 Buprestis. Even on the last day I went out, I

obtained 10 new species; so that although I collected over a

thousand distinct sorts of beetles in a space not much exceeding

a square mile during the three months of my residence at Dorey, I

cannot believe that this represents one half the species really

inhabiting the same spot, or a fourth of what might be obtained

in an area extending twenty miles in each direction.

On the 22d of July the schooner Hester Helena arrived, and five

days afterwards we bade adieu to Dorey, without much regret, for

in no place which I have visited have I encountered more

privations and annoyances. Continual rain, continual sickness,

little wholesome food, with a plague of ants and files,

surpassing anything I had before met with, required all a

naturalist's ardour to encounter; and when they were

uncompensated by great success in collecting, became all the more

insupportable. This long thought-of and much-desired voyage to

New Guinea had realized none of my expectations. Instead of being

far better than the Aru Islands, it was in almost everything much

worse. Instead of producing several of the rarer Paradise birds,

I had not even seen one of them, and had not obtained any one

superlatively fine bird or insect. I cannot deny, however, that

Dorey was very rich in ants. One small black kind was excessively

abundant. Almost every shrub and tree was more or less infested

with it, and its large papery nests were everywhere to be seen.

They immediately took possession of my house, building a large

nest in the roof, and forming papery tunnels down almost every

post. They swarmed on my table as I was at work setting out my

insects, carrying them off from under my very nose, and even

tearing them from the cards on which they were gummed if I left

them for an instant. They crawled continually over my hands and

face, got into my hair, and roamed at will over my whole body,

not producing much inconvenience till they began to bite, which

they would do on meeting with any obstruction to their passage,

and with a sharpness which made me jump again and rush to undress

and turn out the offender. They visited my bed also, so that

night brought no relief from their persecutions; and I verily

believe that during my three and a half months' residence at

Dorey I was never for a single hour entirely free from them. They

were not nearly so voracious as many other kinds, but their

numbers and ubiquity rendered it necessary to be constantly on

guard against them.

The flies that troubled me most were a large kind of blue-bottle

or blow-fly. These settled in swarms on my bird skins when first

put out to dry, filling their plumage with masses of eggs, which,

if neglected, the next day produced maggots. They would get under

the wings or under the body where it rested on the drying-board,

sometimes actually raising it up half an inch by the mass of eggs

deposited in a few hours; and every egg was so firmly glued to

the fibres of the feathers, as to make it a work of much time and

patience to get them off without injuring the bird. In no other

locality have I ever been troubled with such a plague as this.

On the 29th we left Dorey, and expected a quick voyage home, as

it was the time of year when we ought to have had steady

southerly and easterly winds. Instead of these, however, we had

calms and westerly breezes, and it was seventeen days before we

reached Ternate, a distance of five hundred miles only, which,

with average winds, could have been done in five days. It was a

great treat to me to find myself back again in my comfortable

house, enjoying milk to my tea and coffee, fresh bread and

butter, and fowl and fish daily for dinner. This New Guinea

voyage had used us all up, and I determined to stay and recruit

before I commenced any fresh expeditions. My succeeding journeys

to Gilolo and Batchian have already been narrated, and if; now

only remains for me to give an account of my residence in

Waigiou, the last Papuan territory I visited in search of Birds

of Paradise.




IN my twenty-fifth chapter I have described my arrival at Wahai,

on my way to Mysol and Waigiou, islands which belong to the

Papuan district, and the account of which naturally follows after

that of my visit to the mainland of New Guinea. I now take up my

narrative at my departure from Wahai, with the intention of

carrying various necessary stores to my assistant, Mr. Allen, at

Silinta, in Mysol, and then continuing my journey to Waigiou. It

will be remembered that I was travelling in a small prau, which I

had purchased and fitted up in Goram, and that, having been

deserted by my crew on the coast of Ceram, I had obtained four

men at Wahai, who, with my Amboynese hunter, constituted my crew.

Between Ceram and Mysol there are sixty miles of open sea, and

along this wide channel the east monsoon blows strongly; so that

with native praus, which will not lay up to the wind, it requires

some care in crossing. In order to give ourselves sufficient

leeway, we sailed back from Wahai eastward, along the coast of

Ceram, with the land-breeze; but in the morning (June 18th) had

not gone nearly so far as I expected. My pilot, an old and

experienced sailor, named Gurulampoko, assured me there was a

current setting to the eastward, and that we could easily lay

across to Silinta, in Mysol. As we got out from the land the wind

increased, and there was a considerable sea, which made my short

little vessel plunge and roll about violently. By sunset -we had

not got halfway across, but could see Mysol distinctly. All night

we went along uneasily, and at daybreak, on looking out

anxiously, I found that we had fallen much to the westward during

the night, owing, no doubt, to the pilot being sleepy and not

keeping the boat sufficiently close to the wind. We could see the

mountains distinctly, but it was clear we should not reach

Silinta, and should have some difficulty in getting to the

extreme westward point of the island. The sea was now very

boisterous, and our prau was continually beaten to leeward by the

waves, and after another weary day we found w e could not get to

Mysol at all, but might perhaps reach the island called Pulo

Kanary, about ten miles to the north-west. Thence we might await

a favourable wind to reach Waigamma, on the north side of the

island, and visit Allen by means of a small boat.

About nine o'clock at night, greatly to my satisfaction, we got

under the lea of this island, into quite smooth water--for I had

been very sick and uncomfortable, and had eaten scarcely anything

since the preceding morning. We were slowly nearing the shore,

which the smooth dark water told us we could safely approach; and

were congratulating ourselves on soon being at anchor, with the

prospect of hot coffee, a good supper, and a sound sleep, when

the wind completely dropped, and we had to get out the oars to

row. We were not more than two hundred yards from the shore, when

I noticed that we seemed to get no nearer although the men were

rowing hard, but drifted to the westward, and the prau would not

obey the helm, but continually fell off, and gave us much trouble

to bring her up again. Soon a laud ripple of water told us we

were seized by one of those treacherous currents which so

frequently frustrate all the efforts of the voyager in these

seas; the men threw down the oars in despair, and in a few

minutes we drifted to leeward of the island fairly out to sea

again, and lost our last chance of ever reaching Mysol! Hoisting

our jib, we lay to, and in the morning found ourselves only a few

miles from the island, but wit, such a steady wind blowing from

its direction as to render it impossible for us to get back to


We now made sail to the northward, hoping soon to get a more

southerly wind. Towards noon the sea was much smoother, and with

a S.S.E. wind we were laying in the direction of Salwatty, which

I hoped to reach, as I could there easily get a boat to take

provisions and stores to my companion in Mysol. This wind did

not, however, last long, but died away into a calm; and a light

west wind springing up, with a dark bank of clouds, again gave us

hopes of reaching Mysol. We were soon, however, again

disappointed. The E.S.E. wind began to blow again with violence,

and continued all night in irregular gusts, and with a short

cross sea tossed us about unmercifully, and so continually took

our sails aback, that we were at length forced to run before it

with our jib only, to escape being swamped by our heavy mainsail.

After another miserable and anxious night, we found that we had

drifted westward of the island of Poppa, and the wind being again

a little southerly, we made all sail in order to reach it. This

we did not succeed in doing, passing to the north-west, when the

wind again blew hard from the E.S.E., and our last hope of

finding a refuge till better weather was frustrated. This was a

very serious matter to me, as I could not tell how Charles Allen

might act, if, after waiting in vain for me, he should return to

Wahai, and find that I had left there long before, and had not

since been heard of. Such an event as our missing an island forty

miles long would hardly occur to him, and he would conclude

either that our boat had foundered, or that my crew had murdered

me and run away with her. However, as it was physically

impossible now for me to reach him, the only thing to be done was

to make the best of my way to Waigiou, and trust to our meeting

some traders, who might convey to him the news of my safety.

Finding on my map a group of three small islands, twenty-five

miles north of Poppa, I resolved, if possible, to rest there a

day or two. We could lay our boat's head N.E. by N.; but a heavy

sea from the eastward so continually beat us off our course, and

we made so much leeway, that I found it would be as much as we

could do to reach them. It was a delicate point to keep our head

in the best direction, neither so close to the wind as to stop

our way, or so free as to carry us too far to leeward. I

continually directed the steersman myself, and by incessant

vigilance succeeded, just at sunset, in bringing our boat to an

anchor under the lee of the southern point of one of the islands.

The anchorage was, however, by no means good, there being a

fringing coral reef, dry at low water, beyond which, on a bottom

strewn with masses of coral, we were obliged to anchor. We had

now been incessantly tossing about for four days in our small

undecked boat, with constant disappointments and anxiety, and it

was a great comfort to have a night of quiet and comparative

safety. My old pilot had never left the helm for more than an

hour at a time, when one of the others would relieve him for a

little sleep; so I determined the next morning to look out for a

secure and convenient harbour, and rest on shore for a day.

In the morning, finding it would be necessary for us to get round

a rocky point, I wanted my men to go on shore and cut jungle-

rope, by which to secure us from being again drafted away, as the

wind was directly off shore. I unfortunately, however, allowed

myself to be overruled by the pilot and crew, who all declared

that it was the easiest thing possible, and that they would row

the boat round the point in a few minutes. They accordingly got

up the anchor, set the jib, and began rowing; but, just as I had

feared, we drifted rapidly off shore, and had to drop anchor

again in deeper water, and much farther off. The two best men, a

Papuan and a Malay now swam on shore, each carrying a hatchet,

and went into the jungle to seek creepers for rope. After about

an hour our anchor loosed hold, and began to drag. This alarmed

me greatly, and we let go our spare anchor, and, by running out

all our cable, appeared tolerably secure again. We were now most

anxious for the return of the men, and were going to fire our

muskets to recall them, when we observed them on the beach, some

way off, and almost immediately our anchors again slipped, and we

drifted slowly away into deep water. We instantly seized the

oars, but found we could not counteract the wind and current, and

our frantic cries to the men were not heard till we had got a

long way off; as they seemed to be hunting for shell-fish on the

beach. Very soon, however, they stared at us, and in a few

minutes seemed to comprehend their situation; for they rushed

down into the water, as if to swim off, but again returned on

shore, as if afraid to make the attempt. We had drawn up our

anchors at first not to check our rowing; but now, finding we

could do nothing, we let them both hang down by the full length

of the cables. This stopped our way very much, and we drifted

from shore very slowly, and hoped the men would hastily form a

raft, or cut down a soft-wood tree, and paddle out, to us, as we

were still not more than a third of a mile from shore. They

seemed, however, to have half lost their senses, gesticulating

wildly to us, running along the beach, then going unto the

forest; and just when we thought they had prepared some mode of

making an attempt to reach us, we saw the smoke of a fire they

had made to cook their shell-fish! They had evidently given up

all idea of coming after us, and we were obliged to look to our

own position.

We were now about a mile from shore, and midway between two of

the islands, but we were slowly drifting out, to sea to the

westward, and our only chance of yet saving the men was to reach

the opposite shore. We therefore sot our jib and rowed hard; but

the wind failed, and we drifted out so rapidly that we had some

difficulty in reaching the extreme westerly point of the island.

Our only sailor left, then swam ashore with a rope, and helped to

tow us round the point into a tolerably safe and secure

anchorage, well sheltered from the wind, but exposed to a little

swell which jerked our anchor and made us rather uneasy. We were

now in a sad plight, having lost our two best men, and being

doubtful if we had strength left to hoist our mainsail. We had

only two days' water on board, and the small, rocky, volcanic

island did not promise us much chance of finding any. The conduct

of the men on shore was such as to render it doubtful if they

would make any serious attempt to reach us, though they might

easily do so, having two good choppers, with which in a day they

could male a small outrigger raft on which they could safely

cross the two miles of smooth sea with the wind right aft, if

they started from the east end of the island, so as to allow for

the current. I could only hope they would be sensible enough to

make the attempt, and determined to stay as long as I could to

give them the chance.

We passed an anxious night, fearful of again breaking our anchor

or rattan cable. In the morning (23d), finding all secure, I

waded on shore with my two men, leaving the old steersman and the

cook on board, with a loaded musketto recall us if needed. We

first walked along the beach, till stopped by the vertical cliffs

at the east end of the island, finding a place where meat had

been smoked, a turtle-shell still greasy, and some cut wood, the

leaves of which were still green, showing that some boat had been

here very recently. We then entered the jungle, cutting our way

up to the top of the hill, but when we got there could see

nothing, owing to the thickness of the forest. Returning, we cut

some bamboos, and sharpened them to dig for water in a low spot

where some sago -trees were growing; when, just as we were going

to begin, Hoi, the Wahai man, called out to say he had found

water. It was a deep hole among the Sago trees, in stiff black

clay, full of water, which was fresh, but smelt horribly from the

quantity of dead leaves and sago refuse that had fallen in.

Hastily concluding that it was a spring, or that the water had

filtered in, we baled it all out as well as a dozen or twenty

buckets of mud and rubbish, hoping by night to have a good supply

of clean water. I then went on board to breakfast, leaving my two

men to make a bamboo raft to carry us on shore and back without

wading. I had scarcely finished when our cable broke, and we

bumped against the rocks. Luckily it was smooth and calm, and no

damage was done. We searched for and got up our anchor, and found

teat the cable had been cut by grating all night upon the coral.

Had it given way in the night, we might have drifted out to sea

without our anchor, or been seriously damaged. In the evening we

went to fetch water from the well, when, greatly to our dismay,

we found nothing but a little liquid mud at the bottom, and it

then became evident that the hole was one which had been made to

collect rain water, and would never fill again as long as the

present drought continued. As we did not know what we might

suffer for want of water, we filled our jar with this muddy stuff

so that it might settle. In the afternoon I crossed over to the

other side of the island, and made a large fire, in order that

our men might see we were still there.

The next day (24th) I determined to have another search for

water; and when the tide was out rounded a rocky point and went

to the extremity of the island without finding any sign of the

smallest stream. On our way back, noticing a very small dry bed

of a watercourse, I went up it to explore, although everything

was so dry that my men loudly declared it was useless to expect

water there; but a little way up I was rewarded by finding a few

pints in a small pool. We searched higher up in every hole and

channel where water marks appeared, but could find not a drop

more. Sending one of my men for a large jar and teacup, we

searched along the beach till we found signs of another dry

watercourse, and on ascending this were so fortunate as to

discover two deep sheltered rock-holes containing several gallons

of water, enough to fill all our jars. When the cup came we

enjoyed a good drink of the cool pure water, and before we left

had carried away, I believe, every drop on the island.

In the evening a good-sized prau appeared in sight, making

apparently for the island where our men were left, and we had

some hopes they might be seen and picked up, but it passed along

mid-channel, and did not notice the signals we tried to make. I

was now, however, pretty easy as to the fate of the men. There

was plenty of sago on our rocky island, and there world probably

be some on the fiat one they were left on. They had choppers, and

could cut down a tree and make sago, and would most likely find

sufficient water by digging. Shell-fish were abundant, and they

would be able to manage very well till some boat should touch

there, or till I could send and fetch them. The next day we

devoted to cutting wood, filling up our jars with all the water

we could find, and making ready to sail in the evening. I shot a

small lory closely resembling a common species at Ternate, and a

glossy starling which differed from the allied birds of Ceram and

Matabello. Large wood-pigeons and crows were the only other birds

I saw, but I did not obtain specimens.

About eight in the evening of June 25th we started, and found

that with all hands at work we could just haul up our mainsail.

We had a fair wind during the night and sailed north-east,

finding ourselves in the morning about twenty miles west of the

extremity of Waigiou with a number of islands intervening. About

ten o'clock we ran full on to a coral reef, which alarmed us a

good deal, but luckily got safe off again. About two in the

afternoon we reached an extensive coral reef, and were sailing

close alongside of it, when the wind suddenly dropped, and we

drifted on to it before we could get in our heavy mainsail, which

we were obliged to let run down and fall partly overboard. We had

much difficulty in getting off, but at last got into deep water

again, though with reefs and islands all around us. At night we

did not know what to do, as no one on board could tell where we

were or what dangers might surround us, the only one of our crew

who was acquainted with the coast of Waigiou having been. left on

the island. We therefore took in all sail and allowed ourselves

to drift, as we were some miles from the nearest land. A light

breeze, however, sprang up, and about midnight we found ourselves

again bumping over a coral reef. As it was very dark, and we knew

nothing of our position, we could only guess how to get off

again, and had there been a little more wind we might have been

knocked to pieces. However, in about half an hour we did get off,

and then thought it best to anchor on the edge of the reef till

morning. Soon after daylight on the 7th, finding our prau had

received no damage, we sailed on with uncertain winds and

squalls, threading our way among islands and reefs, and guided

only by a small map, which was very incorrect and quite useless,

and by a general notion of the direction we ought to take. In the

afternoon we found a tolerable anchorage under a small island and

stayed for the night, and I shot a large fruit-pigeon new to me,

which I have since named Carpophaga tumida. I also saw and shot

at the rare white-headed kingfisher (Halcyon saurophaga), but did

not kill it. The next morning we sailed on, and having a fair

wind reached the shores of the large island of Waigiou. On

rounding a point we again ran full on to a coral reef with our

mainsail up, but luckily the wind had almost died away, and with

a good deal of exertion we managed get safely off.

We now had to search for the narrow channel among islands, which

we knew was somewhere hereabouts, and which leads to the villages

on the south side ofWaigiou. Entering a deep bay which looked

promising, we got to the end of it, but it was then dusk, so we

anchored for the night, and having just finished all our water

could cook no rice for supper. Next morning early (29th) we went

on shore among the mangroves, and a little way inland found some

water, which relieved our anxiety considerably, and left us free

to go along the coast in search of the opening, or of some one

who could direct us to it. During the three days we had now been

among the reefs and islands, we had only seen a single small

canoe, which had approached pretty near to us, and then,

notwithstanding our signals, went off in another direction. The

shores seemed all desert; not a house, or boat, or human being,

or a puff of smoke was to be seen; and as we could only go on the

course that the ever-changing wind would allow us (our hands

being too few to row any distance), our prospects of getting to

our destination seemed rather remote and precarious. Having gone

to the eastward extremity of the deep bay we had entered, without

finding any sign of an opening, we turned westward; and towards

evening were so fortunate as to find a small village of seven

miserable houses built on piles in the water. Luckily the Orang-

kaya, or head man, could speak a little. Malay, and informed us

that the entrance to the strait was really in the bay we had

examined, but that it was not to be seen except when- close

inshore. He said the strait was often very narrow, and wound

among lakes and rocks and islands, and that it would take two

days to reach the large village of Muka, and three more to get to

Waigiou. I succeeded in hiring two men to go with us to Muka,

bringing a small boat in which to return; but we had to wait a

day for our guides, so I took my gun and made a little excursion

info the forest. The day was wet and drizzly, and I only

succeeded in shooting two small birds, but I saw the great black

cockatoo, and had a glimpse of one or two Birds of Paradise,

whose loud screams we had heard on first approaching the coast.

Leaving the village the next morning (July 1st) with a light

wind, it took us all day to reach the entrance to the channel,

which resembled a small river, and was concealed by a projecting

point, so that it was no wonder we did not discover it amid the

dense forest vegetation which everywhere covers these islands to

the water's edge. A little way inside it becomes bounded by

precipitous rocks, after winding among which for about two miles,

we emerged into what seemed a lake, but which was in fact a deep

gulf having a narrow entrance on the south coast. This gulf was

studded along its shores with numbers of rocky islets, mostly

mushroom shaped, from the `eater having worn away the lower part

of the soluble coralline limestone, leaving them overhanging from

ten to twenty feet. Every islet was covered will strange-looping

shrubs and trees, and was generally crowned by lofty and elegant

palms, which also studded the ridges of the mountainous shores,

forming one of the most singular and picturesque landscapes I

have ever seen. The current which had brought us through the

narrow strait now ceased, and we were obliged to row, which with

our short and heavy prau was slow work. I went on shore several

times, but the rocks were so precipitous, sharp, and honeycombed,

that Ifound it impossible to get through the tangled thicket with

which they were everywhere clothed. It took us three days to get

to the entrance of the gulf, and then the wind was such as to

prevent our going any further, and we might have had to wait for

days or weeps, when, much to my surprise and gratification, a

boat arrived from Muka with one of the head men, who had in some

mysterious manner heard I was on my way, and had come to my

assistance, bringing a present of cocoa-nuts and vegetables.

Being thoroughly acquainted with the coast, and having several

extra men to assist us, he managed to get the prau along by

rowing, poling, or sailing, and by night had brought us safely

into harbour, a great relief after our tedious and unhappy

voyage. We had been already eight days among the reefs and

islands of Waigiou, coming a distance of about fifty miles, and

it was just forty days since we had sailed from Goram.

Immediately on our arrival at Muka, I engaged a small boat and

three natives to go in search of my lost men, and sent one of my

own men with them to make sure of their going to the right

island. In ten days they returned, but to my great regret and

disappointment, without the men. The weather had been very bad,

and though they had reached an island within sight of that in

which the men were, they could get no further. They had waited

there six days for better weather, and then, having no more

provisions, and the man I had sent with them being very ill and

not expected to live, they returned. As they now knew the island,

I was determined they should make another trial, and (by a

liberal payment of knives, handkerchiefs, and tobacco, with

plenty of provisions) persuaded them to start back immediately,

and make another attempt. They did not return again till the 29th

of July, having stayed a few days at their own village of Bessir

on the way; but this time they had succeeded and brought with

them my two lost men, in tolerable health, though thin and weak.

They had lived exactly a month on the island had found water, and

had subsisted on the roots and tender flower-stalks of a species

of Bromelia, on shell-fish. and on a few turtles' eggs. Having

swum to the island, they had only a pair of trousers and a shirt

between them, but had made a hut of palm-leaves, and had

altogether got on very well. They saw that I waited for them

three days at the opposite island, but had been afraid to cross,

lest the current should have carried them out to sea, when they

would have been inevitably lost. They had felt sure I would send

for them on the first opportunity, and appeared more grateful

than natives usually are for my having done so; while I felt much

relieved that my voyage, though sufficiently unfortunate, had not

involved loss of life.




THE village of Muka, on the south coast of Waigiou, consists of a

number of poor huts, partly in the water and partly on shore, and

scattered irregularly over a space of about half a mile in a

shallow bay. Around it are a few cultivated patches, and a good

deal of second-growth woody vegetation; while behind, at the

distance of about half a mile, rises the virgin forest, through

which are a few paths to some houses and plantations a mile or

two inland. The country round is rather flat, and in places

swampy, and there are one or two small streams which run behind

the village into the sea below it. Finding that no house could be

had suitable to my purpose, and hawing so often experienced the

advantages of living close to or just within the forest, I

obtained the assistance of half-a-dozen men; and having selected

a spot near the path and the stream, and close to a fine fig-

tree, which stood just within the forest, we cleared the ground

and set to building a house. As I did not expect to stay here so

long as I had done at Dorey, I built a long, low, narrow shed,

about seven feet high on one side and four on the other, which

required but little wood, and was put up very rapidly. Our sails,

with a few old attaps from a deserted but in the village, formed

the walls, and a quantity of "cadjans," or palm-leaf mats,

covered in the roof. On the third day my house was finished, and

all my things put in and comfortably arranged to begin work, and

I was quite pleased at having got established so quickly and in

such a nice situation.

It had been so far fine weather, but in the night it rained hard,

and we found our mat roof would not keep out water. It first

began to drop, and then to stream over everything. I had to get

up in the middle of the night to secure my insect-boxes, rice,

and other perishable articles, and to find a dry place to sleep

in, for my bed was soaked. Fresh leaks kept forming as the rain

continued, and w e all passed a very miserable and sleepless

night. In the morning the sun shone brightly, and everything was

put out to dry. We tried to find out why the mats leaked, and

thought we had discovered that they had been laid on upside down.

Having shifted there all, and got everything dry and comfortable

by the evening, we again went to bed, and before midnight were

again awaked by torrent of rain and leaks streaming in upon us as

bad as ever. There was no more sleep for us that night, and the

next day our roof was again taken to pieces, and we came to the

conclusion that the fault was a want of slope enough in the roof

for mats, although it would be sufficient for the usual attap

thatch. I therefore purchased a few new and some old attaps, and

in the parts these would not cover we put the mats double, and

then at last had the satisfaction of finding our roof tolerably


I was now able to begin working at the natural history of the

island. When I first arrived I was surprised at being told that

there were no Paradise Birds at Muka, although there were plenty

at Bessir, a place where the natives caught them and prepared the

skins. I assured the people I had heard the cry of these birds

close to the village, but they world not believe that I could

know their cry. However, the very first time I went into the

forest I not only heard but saw them, and was convinced there

were plenty about; but they were very shy, and it was some time

before we got any. My hunter first shot a female, and I one day

got very close to a fine male. He was, as I expected, the rare

red species, Paradisea rubra, which alone inhabits this island,

and is found nowhere else. He was quite low down, running along a

bough searching for insects, almost like a woodpecker, and the

long black riband-like filaments in his tail hung down in the

most graceful double curve imaginable. I covered him with my gun,

and was going to use the barrel which had a very small charge of

powder and number eight shot, so as not to injure his plumage,

but the gun missed fire, and he was off in an instant among the

thickest jungle. Another day we saw no less than eight fine males

at different times, and fired four times at them; but though

other birds at the same distance almost always dropped, these all

got away, and I began to think we were not to get this

magnificent species. At length the fruit ripened on the fig-tree

close by my house, and many birds came to feed on it; and one

morning, as I was taking my coffee, a male Paradise Bird was seen

to settle on its top. I seized my gun, ran under the tree, and,

gazing up, could see it flying across from branch to branch,

seizing a fruit here and another there, and then, before I could

get a sufficient aim to shoot at such a height (for it was one of

the loftiest trees of the tropics), it was away into the forest.

They now visited the tree every morning; but they stayed so short

a time, their motions were so rapid, and it was so difficult to

see them, owing to the lower trees, which impeded the view, that

it was only after several days' watching, and one or two misses,

that I brought down my bird--a male in the most magnificent


This bird differs very much from the two large species which I

had already obtained, and, although it wants the grace imparted

by their long golden trains, is in many respects more remarkable

and more beautiful. The head, back, and shoulders are clothed

with a richer yellow, the deep metallic green colour of the

throat extends further over the head, and the feathers are

elongated on the forehead into two little erectile crests. The

side plumes are shorter, but are of a rich red colour,

terminating in delicate white points, and the middle tail-

feathers are represented by two long rigid glossy ribands, which

are black, thin, and semi-cylindrical, and droop gracefully in a

spiral curve. Several other interesting birds were obtained, and

about half-a-dozen quite new ones; but none of any remarkable

beauty, except the lovely little dove, Ptilonopus pulchellus,

which with several other pigeons I shot on the same fig-tree

close to my house. It is of a beautiful green colour above, with

a forehead of the richest crimson, while beneath it is ashy white

and rich yellow, banded with violet red.

On the evening of our arrival at Muka I observed what appeared

like a display of Aurora Borealis, though I could hardly believe

that this was possible at a point a little south of the equator.

The night was clear and calm, and the northern sky presented a

diffused light, with a constant succession of faint vertical

flashings or flickerings, exactly similar to an ordinary aurora

in England. The next day was fine, but after that the weather was

unprecedentedly bad, considering that it ought to have been the

dry monsoon. For near a month we had wet weather; the sun either

not appearing at all, or only for an hour or two about noon.

Morning and evening, as well as nearly all night, it rained or

drizzled, and boisterous winds, with dark clouds, formed the

daily programme. With the exception that it was never cold, it

was just such weather as a very bad English November or February.

The people of Waigiou are not truly indigenes of the island,

which possesses no "Alfuros," or aboriginal inhabitants. They

appear to be a mixed race, partly from Gilolo, partly from New

Guinea. Malays and Alfuros from the former island have probably

settled here, and many of them have taken Papuan wives from

Salwatty or Dorey, while the influx of people from those places,

and of slaves, has led to the formation of a tribe exhibiting

almost all the transitions from a nearly pure Malayan to an

entirely Papuan type. The language spoken by them is entirely

Papuan, being that which is used on all the coasts of Mysol,

Salwatty, the north-west of New Guinea, and the islands in the

great Geelvink Bay,--a fact which indicates the way in which the

coast settlements have been formed. The fact that so many of the

islands between New Guinea and the Moluccas--such as Waigiou,

Guebe, Poppa, Obi, Batchian, as well as the south and east

peninsulas of Gilolo--possess no aboriginal tribes, but are

inhabited by people who are evidently mongrels and wanderers, is

a remarkable corroborative proof of the distinctness of the

Malayan and Papuan races, and the separation of the geographical

areas they inhabit. If these two great races were direct

modifications, the one of the other, we should expect to find in

the intervening region some homogeneous indigenous race

presenting intermediate characters. For example, between the

whitest inhabitants of Europe and the black Klings of South

India, there are in the intervening districts homogeneous races

which form a gradual transition from one to the other; while in

America, although there is a perfect transition from the Anglo-

Saxon to the negro, and from the Spaniard to the Indian, there is

no homogeneous race forming a natural transition from one to the

other. In the Malay Archipelago we have an excellent example of

two absolutely distinct races, which appear to have approached

each other, and intermingled in an unoccupied territory at a very

recent epoch in the history of man; and I feel satisfied that no

unprejudiced person could study them on the spot without being

convinced that this is the true solution of the problem, rather

than the almost universally accepted view that they are but

modifications of one and the same race.

The people of Muka live in that abject state of poverty that is

almost always found where the sago-tree is abundant. Very few of

them take the trouble to plant any vegetables or fruit, but live

almost entirely on sago and fish, selling a little tripang or

tortoiseshell to buy the scanty clothing they require. Almost all

of them, however, possess one or more Papuan slaves, on whose

labour they live in almost absolute idleness, just going out on

little fishing or trading excursions, as an excitement in their

monotonous existence. They are under the rule of the Sultan of

Tidore, and every year have to pay a small tribute of Paradise

birds, tortoiseshell, or sago. To obtain these, they go in the

fine season on a trading voyage to the mainland of New Guinea,

and getting a few goods on credit from some Ceram or Bugis

trader, make hard bargains with the natives, and gain enough to

pay their tribute, and leave a little profit for themselves.

Such a country is not a very pleasant one to live in, for as

there are no superfluities, there is nothing to sell; and had it

not been for a trader from Ceram who was residing there during my

stay, who had a small vegetable garden, and whose men

occasionally got a few spare fish, I should often have had

nothing to eat. Fowls, fruit, and vegetables are luxuries very

rarely to be purchased at Muka; and even cocoa-nuts, so

indispensable for eastern cookery, are not to be obtained; for

though there are some hundreds of trees in the village, all the

fruit is eaten green, to supply the place of the vegetables the

people are too lazy to cultivate. Without eggs, cocoa-nuts, or

plantains, we had very short commons, and the boisterous weather

being unpropitious for fishing, we had to live on what few

eatable birds we could shoot, with an occasional cuscus, or

eastern opossum, the only quadruped, except pigs, inhabiting the


I had only shot two male Paradiseas on my tree when they ceased

visiting it, either owing to the fruit becoming scarce, or that

they were wise enough to know there was danger. We continued to

hear and see them in the forest, but after a month had not

succeeded in shooting any more; and as my chief object in

visiting Waigiou was to get these birds, I determined to go to

Bessir, where there are a number of Papuans who catch and

preserve them. I hired a small outrigger boat for this journey,

and left one of my men to guard my house and goods. We had to

wait several days for fine weather, and at length started early

one morning, and arrived late at night, after a rough and

disagreeable passage. The village of Bessir was built in the

water at the point of a small island. The chief food of the

people was evidently shell-fish, since great heaps of the shells

had accumulated in the shallow water between the houses and the

land, forming a regular "kitchen-midden "for the exploration of

some future archeologist. We spent the night in the chief's

house, and the next morning went over to the mainland to look out

for a place where I could reside. This part of Waigiou is really

another island to the south of the narrow channel we had passed

through in coming to Muka. It appears to consist almost entirely

of raised coral, whereas the northern island contains hard

crystalline rocks. The shores were a range of low limestone

cliffs, worn out by the water, so that the upper part generally

overhung. At distant intervals were little coves and openings,

where small streams came down from the interior; and in one of

these we landed, pulling our boat up on a patch of white sandy

beach. Immediately above was a large newly-made plantation of

yams and plantains, and a small hot, which the chief said we

might have the use of, if it would do for me. It was quite a

dwarf's house, just eight feet square, raised on posts so that

the floor was four and a half feet above the ground, and the

highest part of the ridge only five feet above the flour. As I am

six feet and an inch in my stockings, I looked at this with some

dismay; but finding that the other houses were much further from

water, were dreadfully dirty, and were crowded with people, I at

once accepted the little one, and determined to make the best of

it. At first I thought of taking out the floor, which would leave

it high enough to walk in and out without stooping; but then

there would not be room enough, so I left it just as it was, had

it thoroughly cleaned out, and brought up my baggage. The upper

story I used for sleeping in, and for a store-room. In the lower

part (which was quite open all round) I fixed up a small table,

arranged my boxes, put up hanging-shelves, laid a mat on the

ground with my wicker-chair upon it, hung up another mat on the

windward side, and then found that, by bending double and

carefully creeping in, I could sit on my chair with my head just

clear of the ceiling. Here I lived pretty comfortably for six

weeks, taking all my meals and doing all my work at my little

table, to and from which I had to creep in a semi-horizontal

position a dozen times a day; and, after a few severe knocks on

the head by suddenly rising from my chair, learnt to accommodate

myself to circumstances. We put up a little sloping cooking-but

outside, and a bench on which my lads could skin their birds. At

night I went up to my little loft, they spread their mats on the,

floor below, and we none of us grumbled at our lodgings.

My first business was to send for the men who were accustomed to

catch the Birds of Paradise. Several came, and I showed them my

hatchets, beads, knives, and handkerchiefs; and explained to

them, as well as I could by signs, the price I would give for

fresh-killed specimens. It is the universal custom to pay for

everything in advance; but only one man ventured on this occasion

to take goods to the value of two birds. The rest were

suspicious, and wanted to see the result of the first bargain

with the strange white man, the only one who had ever come to

their island. After three days, my man brought me the first bird-

-a very fine specimen, and alive, but tied up in a small bag, and

consequently its tail and wing feathers very much crushed and

injured. I tried to explain to him, and to the others that came

with him, that I wanted them as perfect as possible, and that

they should either kill them, or keep them on a perch with a

string to their leg. As they were now apparently satisfied that

all was fair, and that I had no ulterior designs upon them, six

others took away goods; some for one bird, some for more, and one

for as many as six. They said they had to go a long way for them,

and that they would come back as soon as they caught any. At

intervals of a few days or a week, some of them would return,

bringing me one or more birds; but though they did not bring any

more in bags, there was not much improvement in their condition.

As they caught them a long way off in the forest, they would

scarcely ever come with one, but would tie it by the leg to a

stick, and put it in their house till they caught another. The

poor creature would make violent efforts to escape, would get

among the ashes, or hang suspended by the leg till the limb was

swollen and half-putrefied, and sometimes die of starvation and

worry. One had its beautiful head all defiled by pitch from a

dammar torch; another had been so long dead that its stomach was

turning green. Luckily, however, the skin and plumage of these

birds is so firm and strong, that they bear washing and cleaning

better than almost any other sort; and I was generally able to

clean them so well that they did not perceptibly differ from

those I had shot myself.

Some few were brought me the same day they were caught, and I had

an opportunity of examining them in all their beauty and

vivacity. As soon as I found they were generally brought alive, I

set one of my men to make a large bamboo cage with troughs for

food and water, hoping to be able to keep some of them. I got the

natives to bring me branches of a fruit they were very fond of,

and I was pleased to find they ate it greedily, and would also

take any number of live grasshoppers I gave them, stripping off

the legs and wings, and then swallowing them. They drank plenty

of water, and were in constant motion, jumping about the cage

from perch to perch, clinging on the top and sides, and rarely

resting a moment the first day till nightfall. The second day

they were always less active, although they would eat as freely

as before; and on the morning of the third day they were almost

always found dead at the bottom of the cage, without any apparent

cause. Some of them ate boiled rice as well as fruit and insects;

but after trying many in succession, not one out of ten lived

more than three days. The second or third day they would be dull,

and in several cases they were seized with convulsions, and fell

off the perch, dying a few hours afterwards. I tried immature as

well as full-plumaged birds, but with no better success, and at

length gave it up as a hopeless task, and confined my attention

to preserving specimens in as good a condition as possible.

The Red Birds of Paradise are not shot with blunt arrows, as in

the Aru Islands and some parts of New Guinea, but are snared in a

very ingenious manner. A large climbing Arum bears a red

reticulated fruit, of which the birds are very fond. The hunters

fasten this fruit on a stout forked stick, and provide themselves

with a fine but strong cord. They then seep out some tree in the

forest on which these birds are accustomed to perch, and climbing

up it fasten the stick to a branch and arrange the cord in a

noose so ingeniously, that when the bird comes to eat the fruit

its legs are caught, and by pulling the end of the cord, which

hangs down to the ground, it comes free from the branch and

brings down the bird. Sometimes, when food is abundant elsewhere,

the hunter sits from morning till night under his tree with the

cord in his hand, and even for two or three whole days in

succession, without even getting a bite; while, on the other

hand, if very lucky, he may get two or three birds in a day.

There are only eight or ten men at Bessir who practise this art,

which is unknown anywhere else in the island. I determined,

therefore, to stay as long as possible, as my only chance of

getting a good series of specimens; and although I was nearly

starved, everything eatable by civilized man being scarce or

altogether absent, I finally succeeded.

The vegetables and fruit in the plantations around us did not

suffice for the wants of the inhabitants, and were almost always

dug up or gathered before they were ripe. It was very rarely we

could purchase a little fish; fowls there were none; and we were

reduced to live upon tough pigeons and cockatoos, with our rice

and sago, and sometimes we could not get these. Having been

already eight months on this voyage, my stock of all condiments,

spices and butter, was exhausted, and I found it impossible to

eat sufficient of my tasteless and unpalatable food to support

health. I got very thin and weak, and had a curious disease known

(I have since heard) as brow-ague. Directly after breakfast every

morning an intense pain set in on a small spot on the right

temple. It was a severe burning ache, as bad as the worst

toothache, and lasted about two hours, generally going off at

noon. When this finally ceased, I had an attack of fever, which

left me so weak and so unable to eat our regular food, that I

feel sure my life was saved by a couple of tins of soup which I

had long reserved for some such extremity. I used often to go out

searching after vegetables, and found a great treasure in a lot

of tomato plants run wild, and bearing little fruits about the

size of gooseberries. I also boiled up the tops of pumpkin plants

and of ferns, by way of greens, and occasionally got a few green

papaws. The natives, when hard up for food, live upon a fleshy

seaweed, which they boil till it is tender. I tried this also,

but found it too salt and bitter to be endured.

Towards the end of September it became absolutely necessary for

me to return, in order to make our homeward voyage before the end

of the east monsoon. Most of the men who had taken payment from

me had brought the birds they had agreed for. One poor fellow had

been so unfortunate as not to get one, and he very honestly

brought back the axe he had received in advance; another, who had

agreed for six, brought me the fifth two days before I was to

start, and went off immediately to the forest again to get the

other. He did not return, however, and we loaded our boat, and

were just on the point of starting, when he came running down

after us holding up a bird, which he handed to me, saying with

great satisfaction, "Now I owe you nothing." These were

remarkable and quite unexpected instances of honesty among

savages, where it would have been very easy for them to have been

dishonest without fear of detection or punishment.

The country round about Bessir was very hilly and rugged,

bristling with jagged and honey-combed coralline rocks, and with

curious little chasms and ravines. The paths often passed through

these rocky clefts, which in the depths of the forest were gloomy

and dark in the extreme, and often full of fine-leaved herbaceous

plants and curious blue-foliaged Lycopodiaceae. It was in such

places as these that I obtained many of my most beautiful small

butterflies, such as Sospita statira and Taxila pulchra, the

gorgeous blue Amblypodia hercules, and many others. On the skirts

of the plantations I found the handsome blue Deudorix despoena,

and in the shady woods the lovely Lycaena wallacei. Here, too, I

obtained the beautiful Thyca aruna, of the richest orange on the

upper side; while below it is intense crimson and glossy black;

and a superb specimen of a green Ornithoptera, absolutely fresh

and perfect, and which still remains one of the glories of my


My collection of birds, though not very rich in number of

species, was yet very interesting. I got another specimen of the

rare New Guinea kite (Henicopernis longicauda), a large new

goatsucker (Podargus superciliaris), and a most curious ground-

pigeon of an entirely new genus, and remarkable for its long and

powerful bill. It has been named Henicophaps albifrons. I was

also much pleased to obtain a fine series of a large fruit-pigeon

with a protuberance on the bill (Carpophaga tumida), and to

ascertain that this was not, as had been hitherto supposed, a

sexual character, but was found equally in male and female birds.

I collected only seventy-three species of birds in Waigiou, but

twelve of them were entirely new, and many others very rare; and

as I brought away with me twenty-four fine specimens of the

Paradisea rubra, I did not regret my visit to the island,

although it had by no means answered my expectations.




I HAD left the old pilot at Waigiou to take care of my house and

to get the prau into sailing order--to caulk her bottom, and to

look after the upper works, thatch, and ringing. When I returned

I found it nearly ready, and immediately began packing up and

preparing for the voyage. Our mainsail had formed one side of our

house, but the spanker and jib had been put away in the roof, and

on opening them to see if any repairs were wanted, to our horror

we found that some rats had made them their nest, and had gnawed

through them in twenty places. We had therefore to buy matting

and make new sails, and this delayed us till the 29th of

September, when we at length left Waigiou.

It took us four days before we could get clear of the land,

having to pass along narrow straits beset with reefs and shoals,

and full of strong currents, so that an unfavourable wind stopped

us altogether. One day, when nearly clear, a contrary tide and

head wind drove us ten miles back to our anchorage of the night

before. This delay made us afraid of running short of water if we

should be becalmed at sea, and we therefore determined, if

possible, to touch at the island where our men had been lost, and

which lay directly in our proper course. The wind was, however,

as usual, contrary, being S.S.W. instead of S.S.E., as it should

have been at this time of the year, and all we could do was to

reach the island of Gagie, where we came to an anchor by

moonlight under bare volcanic hills. In the morning we tried to

enter a deep bay, at the head of which some Galela fishermen told

us there was water, but a head-wind prevented us. For the reward

of a handkerchief, however, they took us to the place in their

boat, and we filled up our jars and bamboos. We then went round

to their camping-place on the north coast of the island to try

and buy something to eat, but could only get smoked turtle meat

as black and as hard as lumps of coal. A little further on there

was a plantation belonging to Guebe people, but under the care of

a Papuan slave, and the next morning we got some plantains and a

few vegetables in exchange for a handkerchief and some knives. On

leaving this place our anchor had got foul in some rock or sunken

log in very deep water, and after many unsuccessful attempts, we

were forced to cut our rattan cable and leave it behind us. We

had now only one anchor left.

Starting early, on the 4th of October, the same S.S.W wind

continued, and we began to fear that we should hardly clear the

southern point of Gilolo. The night of the 5th was squally, with

thunder, but after midnight it got tolerably fair, and we were

going along with a light wind arid looking out for the coast of

Gilolo, which we thought we must be nearing, when we heard a dull

roaring sound, like a heavy surf, behind us. In a short time the

roar increased, and we saw a white line of foam coming on, which

rapidly passed us without doing any harm, as our boat rose easily

over the wave. At short intervals, ten or a dozen others overtook

us with bleat rapidity, and then the sea became perfectly smooth,

as it was before. I concluded at once that these must be

earthquake waves; and on reference to the old voyagers we find

that these seas have been long subject to similar phenomena.

Dampier encountered them near Mysol and New Guinea, and describes

them as follows: "We found here very strange tides, that ran in

streams, making a great sea, and roaring so loud that we could

hear them before they came within a mile of us. The sea round

about them seemed all broken, and tossed the ship so that she

would not answer her helm. These ripplings commonly lasted ten or

twelve minutes, and then the sea became as still and smooth as a

millpond. We sounded often when in the midst of them, but found

no ground, neither could we perceive that they drove us any way.

We had in one night several of these tides, that came mostly from

the west, and the wind being from that quarter we commonly heard

them a long time before they came, and sometimes lowered our

topsails, thinking it was a gust of wind. They were of great

length, from north to south, but their breadth not exceeding 200

yards, and they drove a great pace. For though we had little wind

to move us, yet these world soon pass away, and leave the water

very smooth, and just before we encountered them we met a great

swell, but it did not break." Some time afterwards, I learnt that

an earthquake had been felt on the coast of Gilolo the very day

we had encountered these curious waves.

When daylight came, we saw the land of Gilolo a few miles off,

but the point was unfortunately a little to windward of us. We

tried to brace up all we could to round it, but as we approached

the shore we got into a strong current setting northward, which

carried us so rapidly with it that we found it necessary to stand

off again, in order to get out of its influence. Sometimes we

approached the point a little, and our hopes revived; then the

wind fell, and we drifted slowly away. Night found us in nearly

the same position as we had occupied in the morning, so we hung

down our anchor with about fifteen fathoms of cable to prevent

drifting. On the morning of the 7th we were however, a good way

up the coast, and we now thought our only chance would be to got

close in-shore, where there might be a return current, and we

could then row. The prau was heavy, and my men very poor

creatures for work, so that it took us six hours to get to the

edge of the reef that fringed the shore; and as the wind might at

any moment blow on to it, our situation was a very dangerous one.

Luckily, a short distance off there was a sandy bay, where a

small stream stopped the growth of the coral; and by evening we

reached this and anchored for the night. Here we found some

Galela men shooting deer and pigs; but they could not or would

not speak Malay, and we could get little information from them.

We found out that along shore the current changed with the tide,

while about a mile out it was always one way, and against us; and

this gave us some hopes of getting back to the point, from which

we were now distant twenty miles. Next morning we found that the

Galela men had left before daylight, having perhaps some vague

fear of our intentions, anal very likely taking me for a pirate.

During the morning a boat passed, and the people informed us

that, at a short distance further towards the point, there was a

much better harbour, where there were plenty of Galela men, from

whom we, might probably get some assistance.

At three in the afternoon, when the current turned, we started;

but having a head-wind, made slow progress. At dusk we reached

the entrance of the harbour, but an eddy and a gust of wind

carried us away and out to sea. After sunset there was a land

breeze, and we sailed a little to the south-east. It then became

calm, and eve hung down our anchor forty fathoms, to endeavour to

counteract the current; but it was of little avail, and in the

morning we found ourselves a good way from shore, and just

opposite our anchorage of the day before, which we again reached

by hard rowing. I gave the men this day to rest and sleep; and

the next day (Oct. 10th) we again started at two in the morning

with a land breeze. After I had set them to their oars, and given

instructions to keep close in-shore, and on no account to get out

to sea, I went below, being rather unwell. At daybreak I found,

to my great astonishment, that we were again far off-shore, and

was told that the wind had gradually turned more ahead, and had

carried us out--none of them having the sense to take down the

sail and row in-shore, or to call me. As soon as it was daylight,

we saw that we had drifted back, and were again opposite our

former anchorage, and, for the third time, had to row hard to get

to it. As we approached the shore, I saw that the current was

favourable to us, and we continued down the coast till we were

close to the entrance to the lower harbour. Just as we were

congratulating ourselves on having at last reached it, a strong

south-east squall carne on, blowing us back, and rendering it

impossible for us to enter. Not liking the idea of again

returning, I determined on trying to anchor, and succeeded in

doing so, in very deep water and close to the reefs; but the

prevailing winds were such that, should we not hold, we should

have no difficulty in getting out to sea. By the time the squall

had passed, the current had turned against us, and we expected to

have to wait till four in the afternoon, when we intended to

enter the harbour.

Now, however, came the climax of our troubles. The swell produced

by the squall made us jerk our cable a good deal, and it suddenly

snapped low down in the water. We drifted out to sea, and

immediately set our mainsail, but we were now without any anchor,

and in a vessel so poorly manned that it could not be rowed

against the most feeble current or the slightest wind, it word be

madness to approach these dangerous shores except in the most

perfect calm. We had also only three days' food left. It was

therefore out of the question making any further attempts to get

round the point without assistance, and I at once determined to

run to the village of Gani-diluar, about ten miles further north,

where we understood there was a good harbour, and where we might

get provisions and a few more rowers. Hitherto winds and currents

load invariably opposed our passage southward, and we might have

expected them to be favourable to us now we had turned our

bowsprit in an opposite direction. But it immediately fell calm,

and then after a time a westerly land breeze set in, which would

not serve us, and we had to row again for hours, and when night

came had not reached the village. We were so fortunate, however,

as to find a deep sheltered cove where the water was quite

smooth, and we constructed a temporary anchor by filling a sack

with stones from our ballast, which being well secured by a

network of rattans held us safely during the night. The next

morning my men went on shore to cut wood suitable for making

fresh anchors, and about noon, the current turning in our favour,

we proceeded to the village, where we found an excellent and

well-protected anchorage.

On inquiry, we found that the head men resided at the other Gani

on the western side of the peninsula, and it was necessary to

send messengers across (about half a day's journey) to inform

them of my arrival, and to beg them to assist me. I then

succeeded in buying a little sago, some dried deer-meat and

cocoa-nuts, which at once relieved our immediate want of

something to eat. At night we found our bag of atones still held

us very well, and we slept tranquilly.

The next day (October 12th), my men set to work making anchors

and oars. The native Malay anchor is ingeniously constructed of a

piece of tough forked timber, the fluke being strengthened by

twisted rattans binding it to the stem, while the cross-piece is

formed of a long flat stone, secured in the same manner. These

anchors when well made, hold exceedingly arm, and, owing to the

expense of iron, are still almost universally used on board the

smaller praus. In the afternoon the head men arrived, and

promised me as many rowers as I could put on the prau, and also

brought me a few eggs and a little rice, which were very

acceptable. On the 14th there was a north wind all day, which

would have been invaluable to us a few days earlier, but which

was now only tantalizing. On the 16th, all being ready, we

started at daybreak with two new anchors and ten rowers, who

understood their work. By evening we had come more than half-way

to the point, and anchored for the night in a small bay. At three

the next morning I ordered the anchor up, but the rattan cable

parted close to the bottom, having been chafed by rocks, and we

then lost our third anchor on this unfortunate voyage. The day

was calm, and by noon we passed the southern point of Gilolo,

which had delayed us eleven days, whereas the whole voyage during

this monsoon should not have occupied more than half that time.

Having got round the point our course was exactly in the opposite

direction to what it had been, and now, as usual, the wind

changed accordingly, coming from the north and north-west,--so

that we still had to row every mile up to the village of Gani,

which we did not reach till the evening of the 18th. A Bugis

trader who was residing there, and the Senaji, or chief, were

very kind; the former assisting me with a spare anchor and a

cable, and making me a present of some vegetables, and the latter

baking fresh sago cakes for my men; and giving rue a couple of

fowls, a bottle of oil, and some pumpkins. As the weather was

still very uncertain, I got four extra men to accompany me to

Ternate, for which place we started on the afternoon of the 20th.

We had to keep rowing all night, the land breezes being too weak

to enable us to sail against the current. During the afternoon of

the 21st we had an hour's fair wind, which soon changed into a

heavy squall with rain, and my clumsy men let the mainsail get

taken aback and nearly upset us, tearing the sail; and, what was

worse, losing an hour's fair wind. The night was calm, and we

made little progress.

On the 22d we had light head-winds. A little before noon we

passed, with the assistance of our oars, the Paciencia Straits,

the narrowest part of the channel between Batchian and Gilolo.

These were well named by the early Portuguese navigators, as the

currents are very strong, and there are so many eddies, that even

with a fair wind vessels are often quite unable to pass through

them. In the afternoon a strong north wind (dead ahead) obliged

us to anchor twice. At nigh it was calm, and we crept along

slowly with our oars.

On the 23d we still had the wind ahead, or calms. We then crossed

over again to the mainland of Gilolo by the advice of our Gani

men, who knew the coast well. Just as we got across we had

another northerly squall with rain, and had to anchor on the edge

of a coral reef for the night. I called up my men about three on

the morning of the 24th, but there was no wind to help us, and we

rowed along slowly. At daybreak there was a fair breeze from the

south, but it lasted only an hour. All the rest of the day we had

nothing but calms, light winds ahead, and squalls, and made very

little progress.

On the 25th we drifted out to the middle of the channel, but made

no progress onward. In the afternoon we sailed and rowed to the

south end of Kaia, and by midnight reached the village. I

determined to stay here a few days to rest and recruit, and in

hopes of getting better weather. I bought some onions and other

vegetables, and plenty of eggs, and my men baked fresh sago

cakes. I went daily to my old hunting-ground in search of

insects, but with very poor success. It was now wet, squally

weather, and there appeared a stagnation of insect life. We

Staved five days, during which time twelve persons died in the

village, mostly from simple intermittent fever, of the treatment

of which the natives are quite ignorant. During the whole of this

voyage I had suffered greatly from sunburnt lips, owing to having

exposed myself on deck all day to loon after our safety among the

shoals and reefs near Waigiou. The salt in the air so affected

them that they would not heal, but became excessively painful,

and bled at the slightest touch, and for a long time it was with

great difficulty I could eat at all, being obliged to open my

mouth very wide, and put in each mouthful with the greatest

caution. I kept them constantly covered with ointment, which was

itself very disagreeable, and they caused me almost constant pain

for more than a month, as they did not get well till I had

returned to Ternate, and was able to remain a week indoors.

A boat which left for Ternate, the day after we arrived, was

obliged to return the next day, on account of bad weather. On the

31st we went out to the anchorage at the mouth of the harbour, so

as to be ready to start at the first favourable opportunity.

On the 1st of November I called up my men at one in the morning,

and we started with the tide in our favour. Hitherto it had

usually been calm at night, but on this occasion we had a strong

westerly squall with rain, which turned our prau broadside, and

obliged us to anchor. When it had passed we went on rowing all

night, but the wind ahead counteracted the current in our favour,

and we advanced but little. Soon after sunrise the wind became

stronger and more adverse, and as we had a dangerous lee-shore

which we could not clear, we had to put about and get an offing

to the W.S.W. This series of contrary winds and bad weather ever

since we started, not having had a single day of fair wind, was

very remarkable. My men firmly believed there was something

unlucky in the boat, and told me I ought to have had a certain

ceremony gone through before starting, consisting of boring a

hole in the bottom and pouring some kind of holy oil through it.

It must be remembered that this was the season of the south-east

monsoon, and yet we had not had even half a day's south-east wind

since we left Waigiou. Contrary winds, squalls, and currents

drifted us about the rest of the day at their pleasure. The night

was equally squally and changeable, and kept us hard at work

taking in and making sail, and rowing in the intervals.

Sunrise on the 2d found us in the middle of the ten-mile channel

between Kaia and Makian. Squalls and showers succeeded each

other during the morning. At noon there was a dead calm, after

which a light westerly breeze enabled us to reach a village on

Makian in the evening. Here I bought some pumelos (Citrus

decumana), kanary-nuts, and coffee, and let my men have a night's


The morning of the 3d was fine, and we rowed slowly along the

coast of Makian. The captain of a small prau at anchor, seeing me

on deck and guessing who I was, made signals for us to stop, and

brought me a letter from Charles Allen, who informed me he had

been at Ternate twenty days, and was anxiously waiting my

arrival. This was good news, as I was equally anxious about him,

and it cheered up my spirits. A light southerly wind now sprung

up, and we thought we were going to have fine weather. It soon

changed, however, to its old quarter, the west; dense clouds

gathered over the sky, and in less than half an hour we had the

severest squall we had experienced during our whole voyage.

Luckily we got our great mainsail down in time, or the

consequences might have been serious. It was a regular little

hurricane, and my old Bugis steersman began shouting out to

"Allah! il Allah!" to preserve us. We could only keep up our jib,

which was almost blown to rags, but by careful handling it kept

us before the wind, and the prau behaved very well. Our small

boat (purchased at Gani) was towing astern, and soon got full of

water, so that it broke away and we saw no more of it. In about

an hour the fury of the wind abated a little, and in two more we

were able to hoist our mainsail, reefed and half-mast high.

Towards evening it cleared up and fell calm, and the sea, which

had been rather high, soon went down. Not being much of a seaman

myself I had been considerably alarmed, and even the old

steersman assured me he had never been in a worse squall all his

life. He was now more than ever confirmed in his opinion of the

unluckiness of the boat, and in the efficiency of the holy oil

which all Bugis praus had poured through their bottoms. As it

was, he imputed our safety and the quick termination of the

squall entirely to his own prayers, saying with a laugh, "Yes,

that's the way we always do on board our praus; when things are

at the worst we stand up and shout out our prayers as loud as we

can, and then Tuwan Allah helps us."

After this it took us two days more to reach Ternate, having our

usual calms, squalls, and head-winds to the very last; and once

having to return back to our anchorage owing to violent gusts of

wind just as we were close to the town. Looking at my whole

voyage in this vessel from the time when I left Goram in May, it

will appear that rely experiences of travel in a native prau have

not been encouraging. My first crew ran away; two men were lost

for a month on a desert island; we were ten times aground on

coral reefs; we lost four anchors; the sails were devoured by

rats; the small boat was lost astern; we were thirty-eight days

on the voyage home, which should not have taken twelve; we were

many times short of food and water; we had no compass-lamp, owing

to there not being a drop of oil in Waigiou when we left; and to

crown all, during the whole of our voyages from Goram by Ceram to

Waigiou, and from Waigiou to Ternate, occupying in all seventy-

eight days, or only twelve days short of three months (all in

what was supposed to be the favourable season), we had not one

single day of fair wind. We were always close braced up, always

struggling against wind, tide, and leeway, and in a vessel that

would scarcely sail nearer than eight points from the wind. Every

seaman will admit that my first voyage in my own boat was a most

unlucky one.

Charles Allen had obtained a tolerable collection of birds and

insects at Mysol, but far less than be would have done if I had

not been so unfortunate as to miss visiting him. After waiting

another week or two till he was nearly starved, he returned to

Wahai in Ceram, and heard, much to his surprise, that I had left

a fortnight before. He was delayed there more than a month before

he could get back to the north side of Mysol, which he found a

much better locality, but it was not yet the season for the

Paradise Birds; and before he had obtained more than a few of the

common sort, the last prau was ready to leave for Ternate, and he

was obliged to take the opportunity, as he expected I would be

waiting there for him.

This concludes the record of my wanderings. I next went to Timor,

and afterwards to Bourn, Java, and Sumatra, which places have

already been described. Charles Allen made a voyage to New

Guinea, a short account of which will be given in my next chapter

on the Birds of Paradise. On his return he went to the Sula

Islands, and made a very interesting collection which served to

determine the limits of the zoological group of Celebes, as

already explained in my chapter on the natural history of that

island. His next journey was to Flores and Solor, where he

obtained some valuable materials, which I have used in my chapter

on the natural history of the Timor group. He afterwards went to

Coti on the east coast of Borneo, from which place I was very

anxious to obtain collections, as it is a quite new locality as

far as possible from Sarawak, and I had heard very good accounts

of it. On his return thence to Sourabaya in Java, he was to have

gone to the entirely unknown Sumba or Sandal-wood Island. Most

unfortunately, however, he was seized with a terrible fever on

his arrival at Coti, and, after lying there some weeks, was taken

to Singapore in a very bad condition, where he arrived after I

had left for England. When he recovered he obtained employment in

Singapore, and I lost his services as a collector.

The three concluding chapters of my work will treat of the birds

of Paradise, the Natural History of the Papuan (stands, and the

Races of Man in the Malay Archipelago.



AS many of my journeys were made with the express object of

obtaining specimens of the Birds of Paradise, and learning

something of their habits and distribution; and being (as far as

I am aware) the only Englishman who has seen these wonderful

birds in their native forests, and obtained specimens of many of

them, I propose to give here, in a connected form, the result of

my observations and inquiries.

When the earliest European voyagers reached the Moluccas in

search of cloves and nutmegs, which were then rare and precious

spices, they were presented with the dried shins of birds so

strange and beautiful as to excite the admiration even of those

wealth-seeking rovers. The Malay traders gave them the name of

"Manuk dewata," or God's birds; and the Portuguese, finding that

they had no feet or wings, and not being able to learn anything

authentic about then, called them "Passaros de Col," or Birds of

the Sun; while the learned Dutchmen, who wrote in Latin, called

them "Avis paradiseus," or Paradise Bird. John van Linschoten

gives these names in 1598, and tells us that no one has seen

these birds alive, for they live in the air, always turning

towards the sun, and never lighting on the earth till they die;

for they have neither feet nor wings, as, he adds, may be seen by

the birds carried to India, and sometimes to Holland, but being

very costly they were then rarely seen in Europe. More than a

hundred years later Mr. William Funnel, who accompanied Dampier,

and wrote an account of the voyage, saw specimens at Amboyna, and

was told that they came to Banda to eat nutmegs, which

intoxicated them and made them fall down senseless, when they

were killed by ants. Down to 1760, when Linnaeus named the

largest species, Paradisea apoda (the footless Paradise Bird), no

perfect specimen had been seen in Europe, and absolutely nothing

was known about them. And even now, a hundred years later, most

books state that they migrate annually to Ternate, Banda, and

Amboyna; whereas the fact is, that they are as completely unknown

in those islands in a wild state as they are in England. Linnaeus

was also acquainted with a small species, which he named

Paradisea regia (the King Bird of Paradise), and since then nine

or ten others have been named, all of which were first described

from skins preserved by the savages of New Guinea, and generally

more or less imperfect. These are now all known in the Malay

Archipelago as "Burong coati," or dead birds, indicating that the

Malay traders never saw them alive.

The Paradiseidae are a group of moderate-sized birds, allied in

their structure and habits to crows, starlings, and to the

Australian honeysuckers; but they are characterised by

extraordinary developments of plumage, which are unequalled in

any other family of birds. In several species large tufts of

delicate bright-coloured feathers spring from each side of the

body beneath the wings, forming trains, or fans, or shields; and

the middle feathers of the tail are often elongated into wires,

twisted into fantastic shapes, or adorned with the most brilliant

metallic tints. In another set of species these accessory plumes

spring from the head, the back, or the shoulders; while the

intensity of colour and of metallic lustre displayed by their

plumage, is not to be equalled by any other birds, except,

perhaps, the humming-birds, and is not surpassed even by these.

They have been usually classified under two distinct families,

Paradiseidae and Epimachidae, the latter characterised by long

and slender beaks, and supposed to be allied to the Hoopoes; but

the two groups are so closely allied in every essential point of

structure and habits, that I shall consider them as forming

subdivisions of one family. I will now give a short description

of each of the known species, and then add some general remarks

on their natural history.

The Great Bird of Paradise (Paradisea apoda of Linnaeus) is the

largest species known, being generally seventeen or eighteen

inches from the beak to the tip of

the tail. The body, wings, and tail are of a rich coffee-brown,

which deepens on the breast to a blackish-violet or purple-brown.

The whole top of the head and neck is of an exceedingly delicate

straw-yellow, the feathers being short and

close set, so as to resemble plush or velvet; the lower part of

the throat up to the eye clothed with scaly feathers of an

emerald, green colour, and with a rich metallic gloss, and

velvety plumes of a still deeper green extend in a band across

the forehead and chin as far as the eye, which is bright yellow.

The beak is pale lead blue; and the feet, which are rather large

and very strong and well formed, are of a pale ashy-pink. The two

middle feathers of the tail have no webs, except a very small one

at the base and at the extreme tip, forming wire-like cirrhi,

which spread out in an elegant double curve, and vary from

twenty-four to thirty-four inches long. From each side of the

body, beneath the wings, springs a dense tuft of long and

delicate plumes, sometimes two feet in length, of the most

intense golden-orange colour and very glossy, but changing

towards the tips into a pale brown. This tuft of plumage cam be

elevated and spread out at pleasure, so as almost to conceal the

body of the bird.

These splendid ornaments are entirely confined to the male sex,

while the female is really a very plain and ordinary-looking bird

of a uniform coffee-brown colour which never changes, neither

does she possess the long tail wires, nor a single yellow or

green feather about the dead. The young males of the first year

exactly resemble the females, so that they can only be

distinguished by dissection. The first change is the acquisition

of the yellow and green colour on the head and throat, and at the

same time the two middle tail feathers grow a few inches longer

than the rest, but remain webbed on both sides. At a later period

these feathers arc replaced by the long bare shafts of the full

length, as in the adult bird; but there is still no sign of the

magnificent orange side-plumes, which later still complete the

attire of the perfect male. To effect these changes there must be

at least three successive moultings; and as the birds were found

by me in all the stages about the same time, it is probable that

they moult only once a year, and that the full plumage is not

acquired till the bird is four years old. It was long thought

that the fine train of feathers was assumed for a short time only

at the breeding season, but my own experience, as well as the

observation of birds of an allied species which I brought home

with me, and which lived two years in this country, show that the

complete plumage is retained during the whole year, except during

a short period of moulting as with most other birds.

The Great Bird of Paradise is very active and vigorous and seems

to be in constant motion all day long. It is very abundant, small

flocks of females and young male being constantly met with; and

though the full-plumaged birds are less plentiful, their loud

cries, which are heard daily, show that they also are very

numerous. Their note is, "Wawk-wawk-wawk-Wok-wok-wok," and is so

loud and shrill as to be heard a great distance, and to form the

most prominent and characteristic animal sound in the Aru

Islands. The mode of nidification is unknown; but the natives

told me that the nest was formed of leaves placed on an ant's

nest, or on some projecting limb of a very lofty tree, and they

believe that it contains only one young bird. The egg is quite

unknown, and the natives declared they had never seen it; and a

very high reward offered for one by a Dutch official did not meet

with success. They moult about January or February, and in May,

when they are in full plumage, the males assemble early in the

morning to exhibit themselves in the singular manner already

described at p. 252. This habit enables the natives to obtain

specimens with comparative ease. As soon as they find that the

birds have fled upon a tree on which to assemble, they build a

little shelter of palm leaves in a convenient place among the

branches, and the hunter ensconces himself in it before daylight,

armed with his bow and a number of arrows terminating in a round

knob. A boy waits at the foot of the tree, and when the birds

come at sunrise, and a sufficient number have assembled, and have

begun to dance, the hunter shoots with his blunt arrow so

strongly as to stun the bird, which drops down, and is secured

and killed by the boy without its plumage being injured by a drop

of blood. The rest take no notice, and fall one after another

till some of them take the alarm. (See Frontispiece.)

The native mode of preserving them is to cut off the wings and

feet, and then skin the body up to the beak, taking out the

skull. A stout stick is then run up through the specimen coming

out at the mouth. Round this some leaves are stuffed, and the

whole is wrapped up in a palm spathe and dried in the smoky hut.

By this plan the head, which is really large, is shrunk up almost

to nothing, the body is much reduced and shortened, and the

greatest prominence is given to the flowing plumage. Some of

these native skins are very clean, and often have wings and feet

left on; others are dreadfully stained with smoke, and all hive a

most erroneous idea of the proportions of the living bird.

The Paradisea apoda, as far as we have any certain knowledge, is

confined to the mainland of the Aru Islands, never being found in

the smaller islands which surround the central mass. It is

certainly not found in any of the parts of New Guinea visited by

the Malay and Bugis traders, nor in any of the other islands

where Birds of Paradise are obtained. But this is by no means

conclusive evidence, for it is only in certain localities that

the natives prepare skins, and in other places the same birds may

be abundant without ever becoming known. It is therefore quite

possible that this species may inhabit the great southern mass of

New Guinea, from which Aru has been separated; while its near

ally, which I shall next describe, is confined to the north-

western peninsula.

The Lesser Bird of Paradise (Paradisea papuana of Bechstein), "Le

petit Emeraude" of French authors, is a much smaller bird than

the preceding, although very similar to it. It differs in its

lighter brown colour, not becoming darker or purpled on the

breast; in the extension of the yellow colour all over the upper

part of the back and on the wing coverts; in the lighter yellow

of the side plumes, which have only a tinge of orange, and at the

tips are nearly pure white; and in the comparative shortness of

the tail cirrhi. The female differs remarkably front the same sex

in Paradisea apoda, by being entirely white on the under surface

of the body, and is thus a much handsomer bird. The young males

are similarly coloured, and as they grow older they change to

brown, and go through the same stages in acquiring the perfect

plumage as has already been described in the allied species. It

is this bird which is most commonly used in ladies' head-dresses

in this country, and also forms an important article of commerce

in the East.

The Paradisea papuana has a comparatively wide range, being the

common species on the mainland of New Guinea, as well as on the

islands of Mysol, Salwatty, Jobie, Biak and Sook. On the south

coast of New Guinea, the Dutch naturalist, Muller, found it at

the Oetanata river in longitude 136 E. I obtained it myself at

Dorey; and the captain of the Dutch steamer Etna informed me that

he had seen the feathers among the natives of Humboldt Bay, in

141 E. longitude. It is very probable, therefore, that it ranges

over the whole of the mainland of New Guinea.

The true Paradise Birds are omnivorous, feeding on fruits and

insects--of the former preferring the small figs; of the latter,

grasshoppers, locusts, and phasmas, as well as cockroaches and

caterpillars. When I returned home, in 1862, I was so fortunate

as to find two adult males of this species in Singapore; and as

they seemed healthy, and fed voraciously on rice, bananas, and

cockroaches, I determined on giving the very high price asked for

them--100.--and to bring them to England by the overland route

under my own care. On my way home I stayed a week at Bombay, to

break the journey, and to lay in a fresh stock of bananas for my

birds. I had great difficulty, however, in supplying them with

insect food, for in the Peninsular and Oriental steamers

cockroaches were scarce, and it was only by setting traps in the

store-rooms, and by hunting an hour every night in the

forecastle, that I could secure a few dozen of these creatures,--

scarcely enough for a single meal. At Malta, where I stayed a

fortnight, I got plenty of cockroaches from a bake-house, and

when I left, took with me several biscuit-tins' full, as

provision for the voyage home. We came through the Mediterranean

in March, with a very cold wind; and the only place on board the

mail-steamer where their large cage could be accommodated was

exposed to a strong current of air down a hatchway which stood

open day and night, yet the birds never seemed to feel the cold.

During the night journey from Marseilles to Paris it was a sharp

frost; yet they arrived in London in perfect health, and lived in

the Zoological Gardens for one, and two years, often displaying

their beautiful plumes to the admiration of the spectators. It is

evident, therefore, that the Paradise Birds are very hardy, and

require air and exercise rather than heat; and I feel sure that

if a good sized conservators` could be devoted to them, or if

they could be turned loose in the tropical department of the

Crystal Palace or the Great Palm House at Kew, they would live in

this country for many years.

The Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisea rubra of Viellot), though

allied to the two birds already described, is much more distinct

from them than they are from each other. It is about the same

size as Paradisea papuana (13 to 14 inches long), but differs

from it in many particulars. The side plumes, instead of being

yellow, are rich crimson, and only extend about three or four

inches beyond the end of the tail; they are somewhat rigid, and

the ends are curved downwards and inwards, and are tipped with

white. The two middle tail feathers, instead of being simply

elongated and deprived of their webs, are transformed into stiff

black ribands, a quarter of an inch wide, but curved like a split

quill, and resembling thin half cylinders of horn or whalebone.

When a dead bird is laid on its back, it is seen that these

ribands take a curve or set, which brings them round so as to

meet in a double circle on the neck of the bird; but when they

hang downwards, during life, they assume a spiral twist, and form

an exceedingly graceful double curve. They are about twenty-two

inches long, and always attract attention as the most conspicuous

and extraordinary feature of the species. The rich metallic green

colour of the throat extends over the front half of the head to

behind the eyes, and on the forehead forms a little double crest

of scaly feathers, which adds much to the vivacity of the bird's

aspect. The bill is gamboge yellow, and the iris blackish olive.

(Figure at p. 353.)

The female of this species is of a tolerably uniform coffee-brown

colour, but has a blackish head, and the nape neck, and shoulders

yellow, indicating the position of the brighter colours of the

male. The changes of plumage follow the same order of succession

as in the other species, the bright colours of the head and neck

being first developed, then the lengthened filaments of the tail,

and last of all, the red side plumes. I obtained a series of

specimens, illustrating the manner in which the extraordinary

black tail ribands are developed, which is very remarkable. They

first appear as two ordinary feathers, rather shorter than the

rest of the tail; the second stage would no doubt be that shown

in a specimen of Paradisea apoda, in which the feathers are

moderately lengthened, and with the web narrowed in the middle;

the third stage is shown by a specimen which has part of the

midrib bare, and terminated by a spatulate web; in another the

bare midrib is a little dilated and semi-cylindrical, and the

terminal web very small; in a fifth, the perfect black horny

riband is formed, but it bears at its extremity a brown spatulate

web, while in another a portion of the black riband itself bears,

for a portion of its length, a narrow brown web. It is only after

these changes are fully completed that the red side plumes begin

to appear.

The successive stages of development of the colours and plumage

of the Birds of Paradise are very interesting, from the striking

manner in which they accord with the theory of their having been

produced by the simple action of variation, and the cumulative

power of selection by the females, of those male birds which were

more than usually ornamental. Variations of _colour_ are of all

others the most frequent and the most striking, and are most

easily modified and accumulated by man's selection of them. We

should expect, therefore, that the sexual differences of _colour_

would be those most early accumulated and fixed, and would

therefore appear soonest in the young birds; and this is exactly

what occurs in the Paradise Birds. Of all variations in the

_form_ of birds' feathers, none are so frequent as those in the

head and tail. These occur more, or less in every family of

birds, and are easily produced in many domesticated varieties,

while unusual developments of the feathers of the body are rare

in the whole class of birds, and have seldom or never occurred in

domesticated species. In accordance with these facts, we find the

scale-formed plumes of the throat, the crests of the head, and

the long cirrhi of the tail, all fully developed before the

plumes which spring from the side of the body begin to mane their

appearance. If, on the other hand, the male Paradise Birds have

not acquired their distinctive plumage by successive variations,

but have been as they are mow from the moment they first appeared

upon the earth, this succession becomes at the least

unintelligible to us, for we can see no reason why the changes

should not take place simultaneously, or in a reverse order to

that in which they actually occur.

What is known of the habits of this bird, and the way in which it

is captured by the natives, have already been described at page


The Red Bird of Paradise offers a remarkable case of restricted

range, being entirely confined to the small island of Waigiou,

off the north-west extremity of New Guinea, where it replaces the

allied species found in the other islands.

The three birds just described form a well-marked group, agreeing

in every point of general structure, in their comparatively large

size, the brown colour of their bodies, wings, and tail, and in

the peculiar character of the ornamental  plumage which

distinguishes the male bird. The group ranges nearly over the

whole area inhabited by the family of the Paradiseidae, but each

of the species has its own limited region, and is never found in

the same district with either of its close allies. To these three

birds properly belongs the generic title Paradisea, or true

Paradise Bird.

The next species is the Paradisea regia of Linnaeus, or Ding Bird

of Paradise, which differs so much from the three preceding

species as to deserve a distinct generic name, and it has

accordingly been called Cicinnurus regius. By the Malays it is

called "Burong rajah," or King Bird, and by the natives of the

Aru Islands "Goby-goby."

This lovely little bird is only about six and a half inches long,

partly owing to the very short tail, which does not surpass the

somewhat square wings. The head, throat, and entire upper surface

are of the richest glossy crimson red, shading to orange-crimson

on the forehead, where the feathers extend beyond the nostrils

more than half-way down the beak. The plumage is excessively

brilliant, shining in certain lights with a metallic or glassy

lustre. The breast and belly are pure silky white, between which

colour and the red of the throat there is a broad band of rich

metallic green, and there is a small spot of the same colour

close above each eye. From each side of the body beneath the

wing, springs a tuft of broad delicate feathers about an inch and

a half long, of an ashy colour, but tipped with a broad band of

emerald green, bordered within by a narrow line of buff: These

plumes are concealed beneath the wing, but when the bird pleases,

can be raised and spread out so as to form an elegant

semicircular fan on each shoulder. But another ornament still

more extraordinary, and if possible more beautiful, adorns this

little bird. The two middle tail feathers are modified into very

slender wirelike shafts, nearly six inches long, each of which

bears at the extremity, on the inner side only, a web of an

emerald green colour, which is coiled up into a perfect spiral

disc, and produces a most singular and charming effect. The bill

is orange yellow, and the feet and legs of a fine cobalt blue.

(See upper figure on the plate at the commencement of this


The female of this little gem is such a plainly coloured bird,

that it can at first sight hardly be believed to belong to the

same species. The upper surface is of a dull earthy brown, a

slight tinge of orange red appearing only on the margins of the

quills. Beneath, it is of a paler yellowish brown, scaled and

banded with narrow dusky markings. The young males are exactly

like the female, and they no doubt undergo a series of changes as

singular as those of Paradisea rubra; but, unfortunately, I was

unable to obtain illustrative specimens.

This exquisite little creature frequents the smaller trees in the

thickest parts of the forest, feeding on various fruits; often of

a very large size for so small a bird. It is very active both on

its wings and feet, and makes a whirring sound while flying,

something like the South American manakins. It often flutters its

wings and displays the beautiful fan which adorns its breast,

while the star-bearing tail wires diverge in an elegant double

curve. It is tolerably plentiful in the Aru Islands, which led to

it, being brought to Europe at an early period along with

Paradisea apoda. It also occurs in the island of Mysol and in

every part of New Guinea which has been visited by naturalists.

We now come to the remarkable little bird called the

"Magnificent," first figured by Buffon, and named Paradisea

speciosa by Boddaert, which, with one allied species, has been

formed into a separate genus by Prince Buonaparte, under the name

of Diphyllodes, from the curious double mantle which clothes the


The head is covered with short brown velvety feathers, which

advance on the back so as to cover the nostrils. From the nape

springs a dense mass of feathers of a straw-yellow colour, and

about one and a half inches long, forming a mantle over the upper

part of the back. Beneath this, and forming a band about one-

third of an inch beyond it, is a second mantle of rich, glossy,

reddish-brown fathers. The rest of the bath is orange-brown, the

tail-coverts and tail dark bronzy, the wings light orange-buff:

The whole under surface is covered with an abundance of plumage

springing from the margins of the breast, and of a rich deep

green colour, with changeable hues of purple. Down the middle of

the breast is a broad band of scaly plumes of the same colour,

while the chin and throat are of a rich metallic bronze. From the

middle of the tail spring two narrow feathers of a rich steel

blue, and about ten inches long. These are webbed on the inner

side only, and curve outward, so as to form a double circle.

From what we know of the habits of allied species, we may be sure

that the greatly developed plumage of this bird is erected and

displayed in some remarkable manner. The mass of feathers on the

under surface are probably expanded into a hemisphere, while the

beautiful yellow mantle is no doubt elevated so as to give the

bird a very different appearance from that which it presents in

the dried and flattened skins of the natives, through which alone

it is at present known. The feet appear to be dark blue.

This rare and elegant little bird is found only on the mainland

of New Guinea, and in the island of Mysol.

A still more rare and beautiful species than the last is the

Diphyllodes wilsoni, described by Mr. Cassin from a native skin

in the rich museum of Philadelphia. The same bird was afterwards

named "Diphyllodes respublica" by Prince Buonaparte, and still

later, "Schlegelia calva," by Dr. Bernstein, who was so fortunate

as to obtain fresh specimens in Waigiou.

In this species the upper mantle is sulphur yellow, the lower one

and the wings pure red, the breast plumes dark green, and the

lengthened middle tail feathers much shorter than in the allied

species. The most curious difference is, however, that the top of

the head is bald, the bare skin being of a rich cobalt blue,

crossed by several lines of black velvety feathers.

It is about the same size as Diphyllodes speciosa, and is no

doubt entirely confined to the island of Waigiou. The female, as

figured and described by Dr. Bernstein, is very like that of

Cicinnurus regius, being similarly banded beneath; and we may

therefore conclude that its near ally, the "Magnificent," is at

least equally plain in this sex, of which specimens have not yet

been obtained.

The Superb Bird of Paradise was first figured by Buffon, and was

named by Boddaert, Paradisea atra, from the black ground colour

of its plumage. It forms the genus Lophorina of Viellot, and is

one of the rarest and most brilliant of the whole group, being

only known front mutilated native skins. This bird is a little

larger than the Magnificent. The ground colour of the plumage is

intense black, but with beautiful bronze reflections on the neck,

and the whole head scaled with feathers of brilliant metallic

green and blue. Over its breast it bears a shield formed of

narrow and rather stiff feathers, much elongated towards the

sides, of a pure bluish-green colour, and with a satiny gloss.

But a still more extraordinary ornament is that which springs

from the back of the neck,--a shield of a similar form to that on

the breast, but much larger, and of a velvety black colour,

glossed with bronze and purple. The outermost feathers of this

shield are half an inch longer than the wing, and when it is

elevated it must, in conjunction with the breast shield,

completely change the form and whole appearance of the bird. The

bill is black, and the feet appear to be yellow.

This wonderful little bird inhabits the interior of the northern

peninsula of New Guinea only. Neither I nor Mr. Allen could hear

anything of it in any of the islands or on any part of the coast.

It is true that it was obtained from the coast-natives by Lesson;

but when at Sorong in 1861, Mr. Allen learnt that it is only

found three days' journey in the interior. Owing to these "Black

Birds of Paradise," as they are called, not being so much valued

as articles of merchandise, they now seem to be rarely preserved

by the natives, and it thus happened that during several years

spent on the coasts of New Guinea and in the Moluccas I was never

able to obtain a skin. We are therefore quite ignorant of the

habits of this bird, and also of its female, though the latter is

no doubt as plain and inconspicuous as in all the other species

of this family.

The Golden, or Six-shafted, Paradise Bird, is another rare

species, first figured by Buffon, and never yet obtained in

perfect condition. It was named by Boddaert, Paradisea sexpennis,

and forms the genus Parotia of Viellot. This wonderful bird is

about the size of the female Paradisea rubra. The plumage appear,

at first sight black, but it glows in certain light with bronze

and deep purple. The throat and breast are scaled with broad flat

feathers of an intense golden hue, changing to green and blue

tints in certain lights. On the back of the head is a broad

recurved band of feathers, whose brilliancy is indescribable,

resembling the sheen of emerald and topaz rather than any organic

substance. Over the forehead is a large patch of pure white

feathers, which shine like satin; and from the sides of the head

spring the six wonderful feathers from which the bird receives

its name. These are slender wires, six inches long, with a small

oval web at the extremity. In addition to these ornaments, there

is also an immense tuft of soft feathers on each side of the

breast, which when elevated must entirely hide the wings, and

give the bird au appearance of being double its real bulk. The

bill is black, short, and rather compressed, with the feathers

advancing over the nostrils, as in Cicinnurus regius. This

singular and brilliant bird inhabits the same region as the

Superb Bird of Paradise, and nothing whatever is known about it

but what we can derive from an examination of the skins preserved

by the natives of New Guinea.

The Standard Wing, named Semioptera wallacei by Mr. G. R. Gray,

is an entirely new form of Bird of Paradise, discovered by myself

in the island of Batchian, and especially distinguished by a pair

of long narrow feathers of a white colour, which spring from

among the short plumes which clothe the bend of the wing, and are

capable of being erected at pleasure. The general colour of this

bird is a delicate olive-brown, deepening to a loud of bronzy

olive in the middle of the back, and changing to a delicate ashy

violet with a metallic gloss, on the crown of the head. The

feathers, which cover the nostrils and extend half-way down the

beak, are loose and curved upwards. Beneath, it is much more

beautiful. The scale-like feathers of the breast are margined

with rich metallic blue-green, which colour entirely covers the

throat and sides of the neck, as well as the long pointed plumes

which spring from the sides of the breast, and extend nearly as

far as the end of the wings. The most curious feature of the

bird, however, and one altogether unique in the whole class, is

found in the pair of long narrow delicate feathers which spring

from each wing close to the bend. On lifting the wing-coverts

they are seen to arise from two tubular horny sheaths, which

diverge from near the point of junction of the carpal bones. As

already described at p. 41, they are erectile, and when the bird

is excited are spread out at right angles to the wing and

slightly divergent. They are from six to six and a half inches

long, the upper one slightly exceeding the lower. The total

length of the bird is eleven inches. The bill is horny olive, the

iris deep olive, and the feet bright orange.

The female bird is remarkably plain, being entirely of a dull

pale earthy brown, with only a slight tinge of ashy violet on the

head to relieve its general monotony; and the young males exactly

resemble her. (See figures at p. 41.)

This bird, frequents the lower trees of the forests, and, like

most Paradise Birds, is in constant motion--flying from branch to

branch, clinging to the twigs and even to the smooth and vertical

trunks almost as easily as a woodpecker. It continually utters a

harsh, creaking note, somewhat intermediate between that of

Paradisea apoda, and the more musical cry of Cicinnurus regius.

The males at short intervals open and flutter their wings, erect

the long shoulder feathers, and spread out the elegant green

breast shields.

The Standard Wing is found in Gilolo as well as in Batchian, and

all the specimens from the former island have the green breast

shield rather longer, the crown of the head darker violet, and

the lower parts of the body rather more strongly scaled with

green. This is the only Paradise Bird yet found in the Moluccan

district, all the others being confined to the Papuan Islands and

North Australia.

We now come to the Epimachidae, or Long-billed Birds of Paradise,

which, as before stated, ought not to be separated from the

Paradiseidae by the intervention of any other birds. One of the

most remarkable of these is the Twelve-wired Paradise Bird,

Paradises alba of Blumenbach, but now placed in the genus

Seleucides of Lesson.

This bird is about twelve inches long, of which the compressed

and curved beak occupies two inches. The colour of the breast and

upper surface appears at first sight nearly black, but a close

examination shows that no part of it is devoid of colour; and by

holding it in various lights, the most rich and glowing tints

become visible. The head, covered with short velvety feathers,

which advance on the chic much further than on the upper part of

the beak, is of a purplish bronze colour; the whole of the back

and shoulders is rich bronzy green, while the closed wings and

tail are of the most brilliant violet purple, all the plumage

having a delicate silky gloss. The mass of feathers which cover

the breast is really almost black, with faint glosses of green

and purple, but their outer edges are margined with glittering

bands of emerald green. The whole lower part of the body is rich

buffy yellow, including the tuft of plumes which spring from the

sides, and extend an inch and a half beyond the tail. When skins

are exposed to the light the yellow fades into dull white, from

which circumstance it derived its specific name. About six of the

innermost of these plumes on each side have the midrib elongated

into slender black wires, which bend at right angles, and curve

somewhat backwards to a length of about ten inches, forming one

of those extraordinary and fantastic ornaments with which this

group of birds abounds. The bill is jet black, and the feet

bright yellow. (See lower figure on the plate at the beginning of

this chapter).

The female, although not quite so plain a bird as in some other

species, presents none of the gay colours or ornamental plumage

of the male. The top of the head and back of the neck are black,

the rest of the upper parts rich reddish brown; while the under

surface is entirely yellowish ashy, somewhat blackish on the

breast, and crossed throughout with narrow blackish wavy bands.

The Seleucides alba is found in the island of Salwatty, and in

the north-western parts of New Guinea, where it frequents

flowering trees, especially sago-palms and pandani, sucking the

flowers, round and beneath which its unusually large and powerful

feet enable it to cling. Its motions are very rapid. It seldom

rests more than a few moments on one tree, after which it flies

straight off, and with great swiftness, to another. It has a loud

shrill cry, to be heard a long way, consisting of "Cah, cah,"

repeated five or six times in a descending scale, and at the last

note it generally flies away. The males are quite solitary in

their habits, although, perhaps, they assemble at pertain times

like the true Paradise Birds. All the specimens shot and opened

by my assistant Mr. Allen, who obtained this fine bird during his

last voyage to New Guinea, had nothing in their stomachs but a

brown sweet liquid, probably the nectar of the flowers on which

they had been feeding. They certainly, however, eat both fruit

and insects, for a specimen which I saw alive on board a Dutch

steamer ate cockroaches and papaya fruit voraciously. This bird

had the curious habit of resting at noon with the bill pointing

vertically upwards. It died on the passage to Batavia, and I

secured the body and formed a skeleton, which shows indisputably

that it is really a Bird of Paradise. The tongue is very long and

extensible, but flat and little fibrous at the end, exactly like

the true Paradiseas.

In the island of Salwatty, the natives search in the forests till

they find the sleeping place of this bird, which they know by

seeing its dung upon the ground. It is generally in a low bushy

tree. At night they climb up the trap, and either shoot the birds

with blunt arrows, or even catch them alive with a cloth. In New

Guinea they are caught by placing snares on the trees frequented

by them, in the same way as the Red Paradise birds are caught in

Waigiou, and which has already been described at page 362.

The great Epimaque, or Long-tailed Paradise Bird (Epimachus

magnus), is another of these wonderful creatures, only known by

the imperfect skins prepared by the

natives. In its dark velvety plumage, glowed with bronze and

purple, it resembles the Seleucides alba, but it bears a

magnificent tail more than two feet long, glossed on the upper

surface with the most intense opalescent blue. Its chief

ornament, however, consists in the group of broad plumes which

spring from the sides of the breast, and which are dilated at the

extremity, and banded with the most vivid metallic blue and

green. The bill is long and curved, and the feet black, and

similar to those of the allied forms. The total length of this

fine bird is between three and four feet.

This splendid bird inhabits the mountains of New Guinea, in the

same district with the Superb and the Six-shafted Paradise Birds,

and I was informed is sometimes found in the ranges near the

coast. I was several times assured by different natives that this

bird makes its nest in a hole under ground, or under rocks,

always choosing a place with two apertures, so that it may enter

at one and go out at the other. This is very unlike what we

should suppose to be the habits of the bird, but it is not easy

to conceive how the story originated if it is not true; and all

travellers know that native accounts of the habits of animals,

however strange they may seem, almost invariably turn out to be


The Scale-breasted Paradise Bird (Epimachus magnificus of Cuvier)

is now generally placed with the Australian Rifle birds in the

genus Ptiloris. Though very beautiful, these birds are less

strikingly decorated with accessory plumage than the other

species we have been describing, their chief ornament being a

more or less developed breastplate of stiff metallic green

feathers, and a small tuft of somewhat hairy plumes on the sides

of the breast. The back and wings of this species are of an

intense velvety black, faintly glossed in certain lights with

rich purple. The two broad middle tail feathers are opalescent

green-blue with a velvety surface, and the top of the head is

covered with feathers resembling scales of burnished steel. A

large triangular space covering the chin, throat, and breast, is

densely scaled with feathers, having a steel-blue or green

lustre, and a silky feel. This is edged below with a narrow band

of black, followed by shiny bronzy green, below which the body is

covered with hairy feathers of a rich claret colour, deepening to

black at the tail. The tufts of side plumes somewhat resemble

those of the true Birds of Paradise, but are scanty, about as

long as the tail, and of a black colour. The sides of the head

are rich violet, and velvety feathers extend on each side of the

beak over the nostrils.

I obtained at Dorey a young male of this bird, in a state of

plumage which is no doubt that of the adult female, as is the

case in all the allied species. The upper surface, wings, and

tail are rich reddish brown, while the under surface is of a pale

ashy colour, closely barred throughout with narrow wavy black

bands. There is also a pale banded stripe over the eye, and a

long dusky stripe from the gape down each side of the neck. This

bird is fourteen inches long, whereas the native skins of the

adult male are only about ten inches, owing to the way in which

the tail is pushed in, so as to give as much prominence as

possible to the ornamental plumage of the breast.

At Cape York, in North Australia, there is a closely allied

species, Ptiloris alberti, the female of which is very similar to

the young male bird here described. The beautiful Rifle Birds of

Australia, which much resemble those Paradise Birds, are named

Ptiloris paradiseus and Ptiloris victories, The Scale-breasted

Paradise Bird seems to be confined to the mainland of New Guinea,

and is less rare than several of the other species.

There are three other New Guinea birds which are by some authors

classed with the Birds of Paradise, and which, being almost

equally remarkable for splendid plumage, deserve to be noticed

here. The first is the Paradise pie (Astrapia nigra of Lesson), a

bird of the size of Paradises rubra, but with a very long tail,

glossed above with intense violet. The back is bronzy black, the

lower parts green, the throat and neck bordered with loose broad

feathers of an intense coppery hue, while on the top of the head

and neck they are glittering emerald green, All the plumage round

the head is lengthened and erectile, and when spread out by the

living bird must lave an effect hardly surpassed by any of the

true Paradise birds. The bill is black and the feet yellow. The

Astrapia seems to me to be somewhat intermediate between the

Paradiseidae and Epimachidae.

There is an allied species, having a bare carunculated head,

which has been called Paradigalla carunculata. It is believed to

inhabit, with the preceding, the mountainous, interior of New

Guinea, but is exceedingly rare, the only known specimen being in

the Philadelphia Museum.

The Paradise Oriole is another beautiful bird, which is now

sometimes classed with the Birds of Paradise. It has been named

Paradises aurea and Oriolus aureus by the old naturalists, and is

now generally placed in the same genus as the Regent Bird of

Australia (Sericulus chrysocephalus). But the form of the bill

and the character of the plumage seem to me to be so different

that it will have to form a distinct genus. This bird is almost

entirely yellow, with the exception of the throat, the tail, and

part of the wings and back, which are black; but it is chiefly

characterised by a quantity of long feathers of an intense glossy

orange colour, which cover its neck down to the middle of the

back, almost like the hackles of a game-cock.

This beautiful bird inhabits the mainland of New Guinea, and is

also found in Salwatty, but is so rare that I was only able to

obtain one imperfect native skin, and nothing whatever is known

of its habits.

I will now give a list of all the Birds of Paradise yet known,

with the places they are believed to inhabit.

1. Paradisea apoda (The Great Paradise Bird). Aru Islands.

2. Paradisea papuana (The Lesser Paradise Bird). New Guinea,

Mysol, Jobie.

3. Paradisea rubra (The Red Paradise Bird). Waigiou,

4. Cicinnurus regius (The King Paradise Bird). New Guinea, Aru

Islands, Mysol, Salwatty.

5. Diphyllodes speciosa (The Magnificent). New Guinea, Mysol,


6. Diphyllodes wilsoni (The Red Magnificent). Waigiou.

7. Lophorina atra (The Superb). New Guinea.

8. Parotia sexpennis (The Golden Paradise Bird). New Guinea.

9. Semioptera wallacei (The Standard Wing). Batchian, Gilolo.

10. Epimachus magnus (The Long-tailed Paradise Bird). New Guinea

11. Seleucides albs (The Twelve-wired Paradise Bird).New Guinea,


12. Ptiloris magnifica (The Scale-breasted Paradise Bird). New


13. Ptiloris alberti (Prince Albert's Paradise Bird). North


14. Ptiloris Paradisea (The Rifle Bird). East Australia.

15. Ptiloris victoriae (The Victorian Rifle Bird). North-East


16. Astrapia nigra (The Paradise Pie). New Guinea.

17. Paradigalla carunculata (The Carunculated Paradise Pie). New


I8. (?) Sericulus aureus (The Paradise Oriole). New Guinea,


We see, therefore, that of the eighteen species which seem to

deserve a place among the Birds of Paradise, eleven are known to

inhabit the great island of New Guinea, eight of which are

entirely confined to it and the hardly separated island of

Salwatty. But if we consider those islands which are now united

to New Guinea by a shallow sea to really form a part of it, we

shall find that fourteen of the Paradise Birds belong to that

country, while three inhabit the northern and eastern parts of

Australia, and one the Moluccas. All the more extraordinary and

magnificent species are, however, entirely confined to the Papuan


Although I devoted so much time to a search after these wonderful

birds, I only succeeded myself in obtaining five species during a

residence of many months in the Aru Islands, New Guinea, and

Waigiou. Mr. Allen's voyage to Mysol did not procure a single

additional species, but we both heard of a place called Sorong,

on the mainland of New Guinea, near Salwatty, where we were told

that all the kinds we desired could be obtained. We therefore

determined that he should visit this place, and endeavour to

penetrate into the interior among the natives, who actually shoot

and skin the Birds of Paradise. He went in the small prau I had

fitted up at Goram, and through the kind assistance of the Dutch

Resident at Ternate, a lieutenant and two soldiers were sent by

the Sultan of Tidore to accompany and protect him, and to assist

him in getting men and in visiting the interior.

Notwithstanding these precautions, Mr. Allen met with

difficulties in this voyage which we had neither of us

encountered before. To understand these, it is necessary to

consider that the Birds of Paradise are an article of commerce,

and are the monopoly of the chiefs of the coast villages, who

obtain them at a low rate from the mountaineers, and sell them to

the Bugis traders. A portion is also paid every year as tribute

to the Sultan of Tidore. The natives are therefore very jealous

of a stranger, especially a European, interfering in their trade,

and above all of going into the interior to deal with the

mountaineers themselves. They of course think he will raise the

prices in the interior, and lessen the supply on the coast,

greatly to their disadvantage; they also think their tribute will

be raised if a European takes back a quantity of the rare sorts;

and they have besides a vague and very natural dread of some

ulterior object in a white man's coming at so much trouble and

expense to their country only to get Birds of Paradise, of which

they know he can buy plenty (of the common yellow ones which

alone they value) at Ternate, Macassar, or Singapore.

It thus happened that when Mr. Allen arrived at Sorong, and

explained his intention of going to seek Birds of Paradise in the

interior, innumerable objections were raised. He was told it was

three or four days' journey over swamps and mountains; that the

mountaineers were savages and cannibals, who would certainly kill

him; and, lastly, that not a man in the village could be found

who dare go with him. After some days spent in these discussions,

as he still persisted in making the attempt, and showed them his

authority from the Sultan of Tidore to go where be pleased and

receive every assistance, they at length provided him with a boat

to go the first part of the journey up a river; at the same time,

however, they sent private orders to the interior villages to

refuse to sell any provisions, so as to compel him to return. On

arriving at the village where they were to leave the river and

strike inland, the coast people returned, leaving Mr. Allen to

get on as he could. Here he called on the Tidore lieutenant to

assist him, and procure men as guides and to carry his baggage to

the villages of the mountaineers. This, however, was not so

easily done. A quarrel took place, and the natives, refusing to

obey the imperious orders of the lieutenant, got out their knives

and spears to attack him and his soldiers; and Mr. Allen himself

was obliged to interfere to protect those who had come to guard

him. The respect due to a white man and the timely distribution

of a few presents prevailed; and, on showing the knives,

hatchets, and beads he was willing to give to those who

accompanied him, peace was restored, and the next day, travelling

over a frightfully rugged country, they reached the villages of

the mountaineers. Here Mr. Allen remained a month without any

interpreter through whom he could understand a word or

communicate a want. However, by signs and presents and a pretty

liberal barter, he got on very well, some of them accompanying

him every day in the forest to shoot, and receiving a small

present when he was successful.

In the grand matter of the Paradise Birds, however, little was

done. Only one additional species was found, the Seleucides alba,

of which be had already obtained a specimen in Salwatty; but he

learnt that the other kinds' of which be showed them drawings,

were found two or three days' journey farther in the interior.

When I sent my men from Dorey to Amberbaki, they heard exactly

the same story--that the rarer sorts were only found several

days' journey in the interior, among rugged mountains, and that

the skins were prepared by savage tribes who had never even been

seen by any of the coast people.

It seems as if Nature had taken precautions that these her

choicest treasures should not be made too common, and thus be

undervalued. This northern coast of New Guinea is exposed to the

full swell of the Pacific Ocean, and is rugged and harbourless.

The country is all rocky and mountainous, covered everywhere with

dense forests, offering in its swamps and precipices and serrated

ridges an almost impassable barrier to the unknown interior; and

the people are dangerous savages, in the very lowest stage of

barbarism. In such a country, and among such a people, are found

these wonderful productions of Nature, the Birds of Paradise,

whose exquisite beauty of form and colour and strange

developments of plumage are calculated to excite the wonder and

admiration of the most civilized and the most intellectual of

mankind, and to furnish inexhaustible materials for study to the

naturalist, and for speculation to the philosopher.

Thus ended my search after these beautiful birds. Five voyages to

different parts of the district they inhabit, each occupying in

its preparation and execution the larger part of a year, produced

me only five species out of the fourteen known to exist in the

New Guinea district. The kinds obtained are those that inhabit

the coasts of New Guinea and its islands, the remainder seeming

to be strictly confined to the central mountain-ranges of the

northern peninsula; and our researches at Dorey and Amberbaki,

near one end of this peninsula, and at Salwatty and Sorong, near

the other, enable me to decide with some certainty on the native

country of these rare and lovely birds, good specimens of which

have never yet been seen in Europe.

It must be considered as somewhat extraordinary that, during five

years' residence and travel in Celebes, the Moluccas, and New

Guinea, I should never have been able to purchase skins of half

the species which Lesson, forty years ago, obtained during a few

weeks in the same countries. I believe that all, except the

common species of commerce, are now much more difficult to obtain

than they were even twenty years ago; and I impute it principally

to their having been sought after by the Dutch officials through

the Sultan of Tidore. The chiefs of the annual expeditions to

collect tribute have had orders to get all the rare sorts of

Paradise Birds; and as they pay little or nothing for them (it

being sufficient to say they are for the Sultan), the head men of

the coast villages would for the future refuse to purchase them

from the mountaineers, and confine themselves instead to the

commoner species, which are less sought after by amateurs, but

are a more profitable merchandise. The same causes frequently

lead the inhabitants of uncivilized countries to conceal minerals

or other natural products with which they may become acquainted,

from the fear of being obliged to pay increased tribute, or of

bringing upon themselves a new and oppressive labour.



NEW GUINEA, with the islands joined to it by a shallow sea,

constitute the Papuan group, characterised by a very close

resemblance in their peculiar forms of life. Having already, in

my chapters on the Aru Islands and on the Birds of Paradise,

given some details of the natural history of this district, I

shall here confine myself to a general sketch of its animal

productions, and of their relations to those of the rest of the


New Guinea is perhaps the largest island on the globe, being a

little larger than Borneo. It is nearly fourteen hundred miles

long, and in the widest part four hundred broad, and seems to be

everywhere covered with luxuriant forests. Almost everything that

is yet known of its natural productions comes from the north-

western peninsula, and a few islands grouped around it. These do

not constitute a tenth part of the area of the whole island, and

are so cut off from it, that their fauna may well he somewhat

different; yet they have produced us (with a very partial

exploration) no less than two hundred and fifty species of land

birds, almost all unknown elsewhere, and comprising some of the

most curious and most beautiful of the feathered tribes. It is

needless to say how much interest attaches to the far larger

unknown portion of this great island, the greatest terra

incognita that still remains for the naturalist to explore, and

the only region where altogether new and unimagined forms of life

may perhaps be found. There is now, I am happy to say, some

chance that this great country will no longer remain absolutely

unknown to us. The Dutch Government have granted well-equipped

steamer to carry a naturalist (Mr. Rosenberg, already mentioned

in this work) and assistants to New Guinea, where they are to

spend some years in circumnavigating the island, ascending its

large rivers a< far as possible into the interior, and making

extensive collections of its natural productions.

The Mammalia of New Guinea and the adjacent islands, yet

discovered, are only seventeen in number. Two of these are bats,

one is a pig of a peculiar species (Sus papuensis), and the rest

are all marsupials. The bats are, no doubt, much more numerous,

but there is every reason to believe that whatever new land

Mammalia man be discovered will belong to the marsupial order.

One of these is a true kangaroo, very similar to some of middle-

sized kangaroos of Australia, and it is remarkable as being the

first animal of the kind ever seen by Europeans. It inhabits

Mysol and the Aru Islands (an allied species being found in New

Guinea), and was seen and described by Le Brun in 1714, from

living specimens at Batavia. A much more extraordinary creature

is the tree-kangaroo, two species of which are known from New

Guinea. These animals do not differ very strikingly in form from

the terrestrial kangaroos, and appear to be but imperfectly

adapted to an arboreal life, as they move rather slowly, and do

not seem to have a very secure footing on the limb of a tree. The

leaping power of the muscular tail is lost, and powerful claws

have been acquired to assist in climbing, but in other respects

the animal seems better adapted to walls on terra firma. This

imperfect adaptation may be due to the fact of there being no

carnivore in New Guinea, and no enemies of any kind from which

these animals have to escape by rapid climbing. Four species of

Cuscus, and the small flying opossum, also inhabit New Guinea;

and there are five other smaller marsupials, one of which is the

size of a rat, and takes its place by entering houses and

devouring provisions.

The birds of New Guinea offer the greatest possible contrast to

the Mammalia, since they are more numerous, more beautiful, and

afford more new, curious, and elegant forms than those of any

other island on the globe. Besides the Birds of Paradise, which

we have already sufficiently considered, it possesses a number of

other curious birds, which in the eyes of the ornithologist

almost serves to distinguish it as one of the primary divisions

of the earth. Among its thirty species of parrots are the Great

Pluck Cockatoo, and the little rigid-tailed Nasiterna, the giant

and the dwarf of the whole tribe. The bare-headed Dasyptilus is

one of the most singular parrots known; while the beautiful

little long-tailed Charmosyna, and the great variety of

gorgeously-coloured lories, have no parallels elsewhere. Of

pigeons it possesses about forty distinct species, among which

are the magnificent crowned pigeons, now so well known in our

aviaries, and pre-eminent both for size and beauty; the curious

Trugon terrestris, which approaches the still more strange

Didunculus of Samoa; and a new genus (Henicophaps), discovered by

myself, which possesses a very long and powerful bill, quite

unlike that of any other pigeon. Among its sixteen kingfishers,

it possesses the carious hook-billed Macrorhina, and a red and

blue Tanysiptera, the most beautiful of that beautiful genus.

Among its perching birds are the fine genus of crow-like

starlings, with brilliant plumage (Manucodia); the carious pale-

coloured crow (Gymnocorvus senex); the abnormal red and black

flycatcher (Peltops blainvillii); the curious little boat-billed

flycatchers (Machaerirhynchus); and the elegant blue flycatcher-

wrens (Todopsis).

The naturalist will obtain a clearer idea of the variety and

interest of the productions of this country, by the statement,

that its land birds belong to 108 genera, of which 20 are

exclusively characteristic of it; while 35 belong to that limited

area which includes the Moluccas and North Australia, and whose

species of these genera have been entirely derived from New

Guinea. About one-half of the New Guinea genera are found also in

Australia, about one-third in India and the Indo-Malay islands.

A very curious fact, not hitherto sufficiently noticed, is the

appearance of a pure Malay element in the birds of New Guinea. We

find two species of Eupetes, a curious Malayan genus allied to

the forked-tail water-chats; two of Alcippe, an Indian and Malay

wren-like form; an Arachnothera, quite resembling the spider-

catching honeysuckers of Malacca; two species of Gracula, the

Mynahs of India; and a curious little black Prionochilus, a saw-

billed fruit pecker, undoubtedly allied to the Malayan form,

although perhaps a distinct genus. Now not one of these birds, or

anything allied to them, occurs in the Moluccas, or (with one

exception) in Celebes or Australia; and as they are most of them

birds of short flight, it is very difficult to conceive how or

when they could have crossed the space of more than a thousand

miles, which now separates them from their nearest allies. Such

facts point to changes of land and sea on a large scale, and at a

rate which, measured by the time required for a change of

species, must be termed rapid. By speculating on such changes, we

may easily see how partial waves of immigration may have entered

New Guinea, and how all trace of their passage may have been

obliterated by the subsequent disappearance of the intervening


There is nothing that the study of geology teaches us that is

more certain or more impressive than the extreme instability of

the earth's surface. Everywhere beneath our feet we find proofs

that what is land has been sea, and that where oceans now spread

out has once been land; and that this change from sea to land,

and from land to sea, has taken place, not once or twice only,

but again and again, during countless ages of past time. Now the

study of the distribution of animal life upon the present surface

of the earth, causes us to look upon this constant interchange of

land and sea--this making and unmaking of continents, this

elevation and disappearance of islands--as a potent reality,

which has always and everywhere been in progress, and has been

the main agent in determining the manner in which living things

are now grouped and scattered over the earth's surface. And when

we continually come upon such little anomalies of distribution as

that just now described, we find the only rational explanation of

them, in those repeated elevations and depressions which have

left their record in mysterious, but still intelligible

characters on the face of organic nature.

The insects of New Guinea are less known than the birds, but they

seem almost equally remarkable for fine forms and brilliant

colours. The magnificent green and yellow Ornithopterae are

abundant, and have most probably spread westward from this point

as far as India. Among the smaller butterflies are several

peculiar genera of Nymphalidae and Lycaenidae, remarkable for

their large size, singular markings, or brilliant coloration. The

largest and most beautiful of the clear-winged moths (Cocytia

d'urvillei) is found here, as well as the large and handsome

green moth (Nyctalemon orontes). The beetles furnish us with many

species of large size, and of the most brilliant metallic lustre,

among which the Tmesisternus mirabilis, a longicorn beetle of a

golden green colour; the excessively brilliant rose-chafers,

Lomaptera wallacei and Anacamptorhina fulgida; one of the

handsomest of the Buprestidae, Calodema wallacei; and several

fine blue weevils of the genus Eupholus, are perhaps the most

conspicuous. Almost all the other orders furnish us with large or

extraordinary forms. The curious horned flies have already been

mentioned; and among the Orthoptera the great shielded

grasshoppers are the most remarkable. The species here figured

(Megalodon ensifer) has the thorax covered by a large triangular

horny shield, two and a half inches long, with serrated edges, a

somewhat wavy, hollow surface, and a faun median line, so as very

closely to resemble a leaf. The glossy wing-coverts (when fully

expanded, more than nine inches across) are of a fine green

colour and so beautifully veined as to imitate closely some of

the large shining tropical leaves. The body is short, and

terminated in the female by a long curved sword-like ovipositor

(not seen in the cut), and the legs are all long and strongly-

spined. These insects are sluggish in their motions, depending

for safety on their resemblance to foliage, their horny shield

and wing-coverts, and their spiny legs.

The large islands to the east of New Guinea are very little

known, but the occurrence of crimson lories, which are quite

absent from Australia, and of cockatoos allied to those of New

Guinea and the Moluccas, shows that they belong to the Papuan

group; and we are thus able to define the Malay Archipelago as

extending eastward to the Solomon's Islands. New Caledonia and

the New Hebrides, on the other hand, seem more nearly allied to

Australia; and the rest of the islands of the Pacific, though

very poor in all forms of life, possess a few peculiarities which

compel us to class them as a separate group. Although as a matter

of convenience I have always separated the Moluccas as a distinct

zoological group from New Guinea, I have at the same time pointed

out that its fauna was chiefly derived from that island, just as

that of Timor was chiefly derived from Australia. If we were

dividing the Australian region for zoological purposes alone, we

should form three great groups: one comprising Australia, Timor,

and Tasmania; another New Guinea, with the islands from Bouru to

the Solomon's group; and the third comprising the greater part of

the Pacific Islands.

The relation of the New Guinea fauna to that of Australia is very

close. It is best marked in the Mammalia by the abundance of

marsupials, and the almost  complete absence of all other

terrestrial forms. In birds it is less striking, although still

very clear, for all the remarkable old-world forms which are

absent from the one are equally so from the other, such as

Pheasants, Grouse, Vultures, and Woodpeckers; while Cockatoos,

Broad-tailed Parrots, Podargi, and the great families of the

Honeysuckers and Brush-turkeys, with many others, comprising no

less than twenty-four genera of land-birds, are common to both

countries, and are entirely confined to them.

When we consider the wonderful dissimilarity of the two regions

in all those physical conditions which were once supposed to

determine the forms of life-Australia, with its open plains,

stony deserts, dried up rivers, and changeable temperate climate;

New Guinea, with its luxuriant forests, uniformly hot, moist, and

evergreen--this great similarity in their productions is almost

astounding, and unmistakeably points to a common origin. The

resemblance is not nearly so strongly marked in insects, the

reason obviously being, that this class of animals are much more

immediately dependent on vegetation and climate than are the more

highly organized birds and Mammalia. Insects also have far more

effective means of distribution, and have spread widely into

every district favourable to their development and increase. The

giant Ornithopterae have thus spread from New Guinea over the

whole Archipelago, and as far as the base of the Himalayas; while

the elegant long-horned Anthribidae have spread in the opposite

direction from Malacca to New Guinea, but owing to unfavourable

conditions have not been able to establish themselves in

Australia. That country, on the other hand, has developed a

variety of flower-haunting Chafers and Buprestidae, and numbers

of large and curious terrestrial Weevils, scarcely any of which

are adapted to the damp gloomy forests of New Guinea, where

entirely different forms are to be found. There are, however,

some groups of insects, constituting what appear to be the

remains of the ancient population of the equatorial parts of the

Australian region, which are still almost entirely confined to

it. Such are the interesting sub-family of Longicorn coleoptera--

Tmesisternitae; one of the best-marked genera of Buprestidae--

Cyphogastra; and the beautiful weevils forming the genus

Eupholus. Among butterflies we have the genera Mynes, Hypocista,

and Elodina, and the curious eye-spotted Drusilla, of which last

a single species is found in Java, but in no other of the western


The facilities for the distribution of plants are still greater

than they are for insects, and it is the opinion of eminent

botanists, that no such clearly-defined regions pan be marked out

in botany as in zoology. The causes which tend to diffusion are

here most powerful, and have led to such intermingling of the

floras of adjacent regions that none but broad and general

divisions can now be detected. These remarks have an important

bearing on the problem of dividing the surface of the earth into

great regions, distinguished by the radical difference of their

natural productions. Such difference we now know to be the direct

result of long-continued separation by more or less impassable

barriers; and as wide oceans and great contrast: of temperature

are the most complete barriers to the dispersal of all

terrestrial forms of life, the primary divisions of the earth

should in the main serve for all terrestrial organisms. However

various may be the effects of climate, however unequal the means

of distribution; these will never altogether obliterate the

radical effects of long-continued isolation; and it is my firm

conviction, that when the botany and the entomology of New Guinea

and the surrounding islands become as well known as are their

mammals and birds, these departments of nature will also plainly

indicate the radical distinctions of the Indo-Malayan and Austro-

Malayan regions of the great Malay Archipelago.



PROPOSE to conclude this account of my Eastern travels, with a

short statement of my views as to the races of man which inhabit

the various parts of the Archipelago, their chief physical and

mental characteristics, their affinities with each other and with

surrounding tribes, their migrations, and their probable origin.

Two very strongly contrasted races inhabit the Archipelago--the

Malays, occupying almost exclusively the larger western half of

it, and the Papuans, whose headquarters are New Guinea and

several of the adjacent islands. Between these in locality, are

found tribes who are also intermediate in their chief

characteristics, and it is sometimes a nice point to determine

whether they belong to one or the other race, or have been formed

by a mixture of the two.

The Malay is undoubtedly the most important of these two races,

as it is the one which is the most civilized, which has come most

into contact with Europeans, and which alone has any place in

history. What may be called the true Malay races, as

distinguished from others who have merely a Malay element in

their language, present a considerable uniformity of physical and

mental characteristics, while there are very great differences of

civilization and of language. They consist of four great, and a

few minor semi-civilized tribes, and a number of others who may

be termed savages. The Malays proper inhabit the Malay peninsula,

and almost all the coast regions of Borneo and Sumatra. They all

speak the Malay language, or dialects of it; they write in the

Arabic character, and are Mahometans in religion. The Javanese

inhabit Java, part of Sumatra, Madura, Bali, and Bart of Lombock.

They speak the Javanese and Kawi languages, which they write in a

native character. They are now Mahometans in Java, but Brahmins

in Bali and Lombock. The Bugis are the inhabitants of the greater

parts of Celebes, and there seems to be an allied people in

Sumbawa. They speak the Bugis and Macassar languages, with

dialects, and have two different native characters in which they

write these. They are all Mahometans. The fourth great race is

that of the Tagalas in the Philippine Islands, about whom, as I

did not visit those Islands, I shall say little. Many of them are

now Christians, and speak Spanish as well as their native tongue,

the Tagala. The Moluccan-Malays, who inhabit chiefly Ternate,

Tidore, Batchian, and Amboyna, may be held to form a fifth

division of semi-civilized Malays. They are all Mahometans, but

they speak a variety of curious languages, which seem compounded

of Bugis and Javanese, with the languages of the savage tribes of

the Moluccas.

The savage Malays are the Dyaks of Borneo; the Battaks and other

wild tribes of Sumatra; the Jakuns of the Malay Peninsula; the

aborigines of Northern Celebes, of the Sula island, and of part

of Bouru.

The colour of all these varied tribes is a light reddish brown,

with more or less of an olive tinge, not varying in any important

degree over an extent of country as large as all Southern Europe.

The hair is equally constant, being invariably black and

straight, and of a rather coarse texture, so that any lighter

tint, or any wave or curl in it, is an almost certain proof of

the admixture of some foreign blood. The face is nearly destitute

of beard, and the breast and limbs are free from hair. The

stature is tolerably equal, and is always considerably below that

of the average European; the body is robust, the breast well

developed, the feet small, thick, and short, the hands small and

rather delicate. The face is a little broad, and inclined to be

flat; the forehead is rather rounded, the brows low, the eyes

black and very slightly oblique; the nose is rather small, not

prominent, but straight and well-shaped, the apex a little

rounded, the nostrils broad and slightly exposed; the cheek-bones

are rather prominent, the mouth large, the lips broad and well

cut, but not protruding, the chin round and well-formed.

In this description there seems little to object to on the score

of beauty, and yet on the whole the Malays are certainly not

handsome. In youth, however, they are often very good-looking,

and many of the boys and girls up to twelve or fifteen years of

age are very pleasing, and some have countenances which are in

their way almost perfect. I am inclined to think they lose much

of their good looks by bad habits and irregular living. At a very

early age. they chew betel and tobacco almost incessantly; they

suffer much want and exposure in their fishing and other

excursions; their lives are often passed in alternate starvation

and feasting, idleness and excessive labour,--and this naturally

produces premature old age and harshness of features.

In character the Malay is impassive. He exhibits a reserve,

diffidence, and even bashfulness, which is in some degree

attractive, and leads the observer to thinly that the ferocious

and bloodthirsty character imputed to the race must be grossly

exaggerated. He is not demonstrative. His feelings of surprise,

admiration, or fear, are never openly manifested, and are

probably not strongly felt. He is slow and deliberate in speech,

and circuitous in introducing the subject he has come expressly

to discuss. These are the main features of his moral nature, and

exhibit themselves in every action of his life.

Children and women are timid, and scream and run at the

unexpected sight of a European. In the company of men they are

silent, and are generally quiet and obedient. When alone the

Malay is taciturn; he neither talks nor sings to himself. When

several are paddling in a canoe, they occasionally chant a

monotonous and plaintive song. He is cautious of giving offence

to his equals. He does not quarrel easily about money matters;

dislikes asking too frequently even for payment of his just

debts, and will often give them up altogether rather than quarrel

with his debtor. Practical joking is utterly repugnant to his

disposition; for he is particularly sensitive to breaches of

etiquette, or any interference with the personal liberty of

himself or another. As an example, I may mention that I have

often found it very difficult to get one Malay servant to waken

another. He will call as loud as he can, but will hardly touch,

much less shake his comrade. I have frequently had to waken a

hard sleeper myself when on a land or sea journey.

The higher classes of Malays are exceedingly polite, and have all

the quiet ease and dignity of the best-bred Europeans. Yet this

is compatible with a reckless cruelty and contempt of human life,

which is the dark side of their character. It is not to be

wondered at, therefore, that different persons give totally

opposite accounts of them--one praising them for their soberness,

civility, and good-nature; another abusing them for their deceit,

treachery, and cruelty. The old traveller Nicolo Conti, writing

in 1430, says: "The inhabitants of Java and Sumatra exceed every

other people in cruelty. They regard killing a man as a mere

jest; nor is any punishment allotted for such a deed. If any one

purchase a new sword, and wish to try it, he will thrust it into

the breast of the first person he meets. The passers-by examine

the wound, and praise the skill of the person who inflicted it,

if he thrust in the weapon direct." Yet Drake says of the south

of Java: "The people (as are their kings) are a very loving,

true, and just-dealing people;" and Mr. Crawfurd says that the

Javanese, whom he knew thoroughly, are "a peaceable, docile,

sober, simple, and industrious people." Barbosa, on the other

hand, who saw them at Malacca about 1660, says: "They are a

people of great ingenuity, very subtle in all their dealings;

very malicious, great deceivers, seldom speaking the truth;

prepared to do all manner of wickedness, and ready to sacrifice

their lives."

The intellect of the Malay race seems rather deficient. They are

incapable of anything beyond the simplest combinations of ideas,

and have little taste or energy for the acquirement of knowledge.

Their civilization, such as it is, does not seem to be

indigenous, as it is entirely confined to those nations who have

been converted to the Mahometan or Brahminical religions.

I will now give an equally brief sketch of the other great race

of the Malay Archipelago, the Papuan.

The typical Papuan race is in many respects the very opposite of

the Malay, and it has hitherto been very imperfectly described.

The colour of the body is a deep sooty-brown or black, sometimes

approaching, but never quite equalling, the jet-black of some

negro races. It varies in tint, however, more than that of the

Malay, and is sometimes a dusky-brown. The hair is very peculiar,

being harsh, dry, and frizzly, growing in little tufts or curls,

which in youth are very short and compact, but afterwards grow

out to a, considerable length, forming the compact frizzled mop

which is the Papuans' pride and glory. The face is adorned with a

beard of the same frizzly nature as the hair of the head. The

arms, legs, and breast are also more or less clothed with hair of

a similar nature.

In stature the Papuan decidedly surpasses the Malay, and is

perhaps equal, or even superior, to the average of Europeans. The

legs are long and thin, and the hands and feet larger than in the

Malays. The face is somewhat elongated, the forehead flatfish,

the brows very prominent; the nose is large, rather arched and

high, the base thick, the nostrils broad, with the aperture

hidden, owing to the tip of the nose being elongated; the mouth

is large, the lips thick and protuberant. The face has thus an

altogether more European aspect than in the Malay, owing to the

large nose; and the peculiar form of this organ, with the more

prominent brows and the character of the hair on the head, face,

and body, enable us at a glance to distinguish the two races. I

have observed that most of these characteristic features are as

distinctly visible in children of ten or twelve years old as in

adults, and the peculiar form of the nose is always shown in the

figures which they carve for ornaments to their houses, or as

charms to wear round their necks.

The moral characteristics of the Papuan appear to me to separate

him as distinctly from the Malay as do his form and features. He

is impulsive and demonstrative in speech and action. His emotions

and passions express themselves in shouts and laughter, in yells

and frantic leapings. Women and children take their share in

every discussion, and seem little alarmed at the sight of

strangers and Europeans.

Of the intellect of this race it is very difficult to judge, but

I am inclined to rate it somewhat higher than that of the Malays,

notwithstanding the fact that the Papuans have never yet made any

advance towards civilization. It must be remembered, however,

that for centuries the Malays have been influenced by Hindoo,

Chinese, and Arabic immigration, whereas the Papuan race has only

been subjected to the very partial and local influence of Malay

traders. The Papuan has much more vital energy, which would

certainly greatly assist his intellectual development. Papuan

slaves show no inferiority of intellect. compared with Malays,

but rather the contrary; and in the Moluccas they are often

promoted to places of considerable trust. The Papuan has a

greater feeling for art than the Malay. He decorates his canoe,

his house, and almost every domestic utensil with elaborate

carving, a habit which is rarely found among tribes of the Malay


In the affections and moral sentiments, on the other hand, the

Papuans seem very deficient. In the treatment of their children

they are often violent and cruel; whereas the Malays are almost

invariably kind and gentle, hardly ever interfering at all with

their children's pursuits and amusements, and giving them perfect

liberty at whatever age they wish to claim it. But these very

peaceful relations between parents and children are no doubt, in

a great measure, due to the listless and apathetic character of

the race, which never leads the younger members into serious

opposition to the elders; while the harsher discipline of the

Papuans may be chiefly due to that greater vigour and energy of

mind which always, sooner or later, leads to the rebellion of the

weaker against the stronger,--the people against their rulers,

the slave against his master, or the child against its parent.

It appears, therefore, that, whether we consider their physical

conformation, their moral characteristics, or their intellectual

capacities, the Malay and Papuan races offer remarkable

differences and striking contrasts. The Malay is of short

stature, brown-skinned, straight-haired, beardless, and smooth-

bodied. The Papuan is taller, is black-skinned, frizzly-haired,

bearded, and hairy-bodied. The former is broad-faced, has a small

nose, and flat eyebrows; the latter is long-faced, has a large

and prominent nose, and projecting eyebrows. The Malay is

bashful, cold, undemonstrative, and quiet; the Papuan is bold,

impetuous, excitable, and noisy. The former is grave and seldom

laughs; the latter is joyous arid laughter-loving,--the one

conceals his emotions, the other displays them.

Having thus described in some detail, the great physical,

intellectual, and moral differences between the Malays and

Papuans, we have to consider the inhabitants of the numerous

islands which do not agree very closely with either of these

races. The islands of Obi, Batchian, and the three southern

peninsulas of Gilolo, possess no true indigenous population; but

the northern peninsula is inhabited by a native race, the so-

called Alfuros of Sahoe and Galela. These people are quite

distinct from the Malays, and almost equally so from the Papuans.

They are tall and well-made, with Papuan features, and curly

hair; they are bearded and hairy-limbed, but quite as light in

colour as the Malays. They are an industrious and enterprising

race, cultivating rice and vegetables, and indefatigable in their

search after game, fish, tripang, pearls, and tortoiseshell.

In the great island of Ceram there is also an indigenous race

very similar to that of Northern Gilolo. Bourn seems to contain

two distinct races,--a shorter, round-faced people, with a Malay

physiognomy, who may probably have come from Celebes by way of

the Sula islands; and a taller bearded race, resembling that of


Far south of the Moluccas lies the island of Timor, inhabited by

tribes much nearer to the true Papuan than those of the Moluccas.

The Timorese of the interior are dusky brown or blackish, with

bushy frizzled hair, and the long Papuan nose. They are of medium

height, and rather slender figures. The universal dress is a long

cloth twisted round the waist, the fringed ends of which hang

below the knee. The people are said to be great thieves, and the

tribes are always at war with each other, but they are not very

courageous or bloodthirsty. The custom of "tabu," called here

"pomali," is very general, fruit trees, houses, crop, and

property of all kinds being protected from depredation by this

ceremony, the reverence for which is very great. A palm branch

stuck across an open door, showing that the house is tabooed, is

a more effectual guard against robbery than any amount of locks

and bars. The houses in Timor are different from those of most of

the other islands; they seem all roof, the thatch overhanging the

low walls and reaching the ground, except where it is cut away

for an entrance. In some parts of the west end of Timor, and on

the little island of Semau, the houses more resemble those of the

Hottentots, being egg-shaped, very small, and with a door only

about three feet high. These are built on the ground, while those

of the eastern districts art, raised a few feet on posts. In

their excitable disposition, loud voices, and fearless demeanour,

the Timorese closely resemble the people of New Guinea.

In the islands west of Timor, as far as Flores and Sandalwood

Island, a very similar race is found, which also extends eastward

to Timor-laut, where the true Papuan race begins to appear. The

small islands of Savu and Rotti, however, to the west of Timor,

are very remarkable in possessing a different and, in some

respects, peculiar race. These people are very handsome, with

good features, resembling in many characteristics the race

produced by the mixture of the Hindoo or Arab with the Malay.

They are certainly distinct from the Timorese or Papuan races,

and must be classed in the western rather than the eastern

ethnological division of the Archipelago.

The whole of the great island of New Guinea, the Ke arid Aru

Islands, with Mysol, Salwatty, and Waigiou, are inhabited almost

exclusively by the typical Papuans. I found no trace of any other

tribes inhabiting the interior of New Guinea, but the coast

people are in some places mixed with the browner races of the

Moluccas. The same Papuan race seems to extend over the islands

east of New Guinea as far as the Fijis.

There remain to be noticed the black woolly-haired races of the

Philippines and the Malay peninsula, the former called

"Negritos," and the latter "Semangs." I have never seen these

people myself, but from the numerous accurate descriptions of

them that have been published, I have had no difficulty in

satisfying myself that they have little affinity or resemblance

to the Papuans, with which they have been hitherto associated. In

most important characters they differ more from the Papuan than

they do from the Malay. They are dwarfs in stature, only

averaging four feet six inches to four feet eight inches high, or

eight inches less than the Malays; whereas the Papuans are

decidedly taller than the -Malays. The nose is invariably

represented as small, flattened, or turned up at the apex,

whereas the most universal character of the Papuan race is to

have the nose prominent and large, with the apex produced

downwards, as it is invariably represented in their own rude

idols. The hair of these dwarfish races agrees with that of the

Papuans, but so it does with that of the negroes of Africa. The

Negritos and the Semangs agree very closely in physical

characteristics with each other and with the Andaman Islanders,

while they differ in a marked manner from every Papuan race.

A careful study of these varied races, comparing them with those

of Eastern Asia, the Pacific Islands, and Australia, has led me

to adopt a comparatively simple view as to their origin and


If we draw a line (see Physical Map, Vol. 1. p. 14), commencing

to the east of the Philippine Islands, thence along the western

coast of Gilolo, through the island of Bouru, and curving round

the west end of Mores, then bending back by Sandalwood Island to

take in Rotti, we shall divide the Archipelago into two portions,

the races of which have strongly marked distinctive

peculiarities. This line will separate the Malayan and all the

Asiatic races, from the Papuans and all that inhabit the Pacific;

and though along the line of junction intermigration and

commixture have taken place, yet the division is on the whole

almost as well defined and strongly contrasted, as is the

corresponding zoological division of the Archipelago, into an

Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan region.

I must briefly explain the reasons that have led me to consider

this division of the Oceanic races to be a true and natural one.

The Malayan race, as a whole, undoubtedly very closely resembles

the East Asian populations, from Siam to Mandchouria. I was much

struck with this, when in the island of Bali I saw Chinese

traders who had adopted the costume of that country, and who

could then hardly be distinguished from Malays; and, on the other

hand, I have seen natives of Java who, as far as physiognomy was

concerned, would pass very well for Chinese. Then, again, we have

the most typical of the Malayan tribes inhabiting a portion of

the Asiatic continent itself, together with those great islands

which, possessing the same species of large Mammalia with the

adjacent parts of the continent, have in all probability formed a

connected portion of Asia during the human period. The Negritos

are, no doubt, quite a distinct race from the Malay; but yet, as

some of them inhabit a portion of the continent, and others the

Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal, they must be considered to

have had, in all probability, an Asiatic rather than a Polynesian


Now, turning to the eastern parts of the Archipelago, I find, by

comparing my own observations with those of the most trustworthy

travellers and missionaries, that a race identical in all its

chief features with the Papuan, is found in all the islands as

far east as the Fijis; beyond this the brown Polynesian race, or

some intermediate type, is spread everywhere over the Pacific.

The descriptions of these latter often agree exactly with the

characters of the brown indigenes of Gilolo and Ceram.

It is to be especially remarked that the brown and the black

Polynesian races closely resemble each other. Their features are

almost identical, so that portraits of a New Zealander or

Otaheitan will often serve accurately to represent a Papuan or

Timorese, the darker colour and more frizzly hair of the latter

being the only differences. They are both tall races. They agree

in their love of art and the style of their decorations. They are

energetic, demonstrative, joyous, and laughter-loving, and in all

these particulars they differ widely from the Malay.

I believe, therefore, that the numerous intermediate forms that

occur among the countless islands of the Pacific, are not merely

the result of a mixture of these races, but are, to some extent,

truly intermediate or transitional; and that the brown and the

black, the Papuan, the natives of Gilolo and Ceram, the Fijian,

the inhabitants of the Sandwich Islands and those of New Zealand,

are all varying forms of one great Oceanic or Polynesian race.

It is, however, quite possible, and perhaps probable, that the

brown Polynesians were originally the produce of a mixture of

Malays, or some lighter coloured Mongol race with the dark

Papuans; but if so, the intermingling took place at such a remote

epoch, and has been so assisted by the continued influence of

physical conditions and of natural selection, leading to the

preservation of a special type suited to those conditions, that

it has become a fixed and stable race with no signs of

mongrelism, and showing such a decided preponderance of Papuan

character, that it can best be classified as a modification of

the Papuan type. The occurrence of a decided Malay element in the

Polynesian languages, has evidently nothing to do with any such

ancient physical connexion. It is altogether a recent phenomenon,

originating in the roaming habits of the chief Malay tribes; and

this is proved by the fact that we find actual modern words of

the Malay and Javanese languages in use in Polynesia, so little

disguised by peculiarities of pronunciation as to be easily

recognisable--not mere Malay roots only to be detected by the

elaborate researches of the philologist, as would certainly have

been the case had their introduction been as

remote as the origin of a very distinct race--a race as different

from the Malay in mental and moral, as it is in physical


As bearing upon this question it is important to point out the

harmony which exists, between the line of separation of the human

races of the Archipelago and that of the animal productions of

the same country, which I have already so fully explained and

illustrated. The dividing lines do not, it is true, exactly

agree; but I think it is a remarkable fact, and something more

than a mere coincidence, that they should traverse the same

district and approach each other so closely as they do. If,

however, I am right in my supposition that the region where the

dividing line of the Indo-Malayan and Austro-Malayan regions of

zoology can now be drawn, was formerly occupied by a much wider

sea than at present, and if man existed on the earth at that

period, we shall see good reason why the races inhabiting the

Asiatic and Pacific areas should now meet and partially

intermingle in the vicinity of that dividing line.

It has recently been maintained by Professor Huxley, that the

Papuans are more closely allied to the negroes of Africa than to

any other race. The resemblance both in physical and mental

characteristics had often struck myself, but the difficulties in

the way of accepting it as probable or possible, have hitherto

prevented me front giving full weight to those resemblances.

Geographical, zoological, and ethnological considerations render

it almost certain, that if these two races ever had a common

origin, it could only have been at a period far more remote than

any which has yet been assigned to the antiquity of the human

race. And even if their lenity could be proved, it would in no

way affect my argument for the close affinity of the Papuan and

Polynesian races, and the radical distinctness of both from the


Polynesia is pre-eminently an area of subsidence, and its goat

widespread groups of coral-reefs mark out tile position of former

continents and islands. The rich and varied, yet strangely

isolated productions of Australia and New Guinea, also indicate

an extensive continent where such specialized forms were

developed. The races of men now inhabiting these countries are,

therefore, most probably the descendants of the races which

inhabited these continents and islands. This is the most simple

and natural supposition to make. And if we find any signs of

direct affinity between the inhabitants of any other part of the

world and those of Polynesia, it by no means follows that the

latter were derived from the former. For as, when a Pacific

continent existed, the whole geography of the earth's surface

would probably be very different from what it now is, the present

continents may not then have risen above the ocean, and, when

they were formed at a subsequent epoch, may have derived some of

their inhabitants from the Polynesian area itself. It is

undoubtedly true that there are proofs of extensive migrations

among the Pacific islands, which have led to community of

language from the sandwich group to New Zealand; but there are no

proofs whatever of recent migration from any surrounding country

to Polynesia, since there is no people to be found elsewhere

sufficiently resembling the Polynesian race in their chief

physical and mental characteristics.

If the past history of these varied races is obscure and

uncertain, the future is no less so. The true Polynesians,

inhabiting the farthest isles of the Pacific, are no doubt doomed

to an early extinction. But the more numerous Malay race seems

well adapted to survive as the cultivator of the soil, even when

his country and government have passed into the hands of

Europeans. If the tide of colonization should be turned to New

Guinea, there can be little doubt of the early extinction of the

Papuan race. A warlike and energetic people, who will not submit

to national slavery or to domestic servitude, must disappear

before the white man as surely as do the wolf and the tiger.

I have now concluded my task. I have given, in more or less

detail, a sketch of my eight years' wanderings among the largest

and the most luxuriant islands which adorn our earth's surface. I

have endeavoured to convey my impressions of their scenery, their

vegetation, their animal productions, and their human

inhabitants. I have dwelt at some length on the varied and

interesting problems they offer to the student of nature. Before

bidding my reader farewell, I wish to make a few observations on

a subject of yet higher interest and deeper importance, which the

contemplation of savage life has suggested, and on which I

believe that the civilized can learn something from the savage


We most of us believe that we, the higher races have progressed

and are progressing. If so, there must be some state of

perfection, some ultimate goal, which we may never reach, but to

which all true progress must bring nearer. What is this ideally

perfect social state towards which mankind ever has been, and

still is tending? Our best thinkers maintain, that it is a state

of individual freedom and self-government, rendered possible by

the equal development and just balance of the intellectual,

moral, and physical parts of our nature,--a state in which we

shall each be so perfectly fitted for a social existence, by

knowing what is right, and at the same time feeling an

irresistible impulse to do what we know to be right., that all

laws and all punishments shall be unnecessary. In such a state

every man would have a sufficiently well-balanced intellectual

organization, to understand the moral law in all its details, and

would require no other motive but the free impulses of his own

nature to obey that law.

Now it is very remarkable, that among people in a very low stage

of civilization, we find some approach to such a perfect social

state. I have lived with communities of savages in South America

and in the East, who have no laws or law courts but the public

opinion of the village freely expressed. Each man scrupulously

respects the rights of his fellow, and any infraction of those

rights rarely or never takes place. In such a community, all are

nearly equal. There are cone of those wide distinctions, of

education and ignorance, wealth and poverty, master and servant,

which are the product of our civilization; there is none of that

wide-spread division of labour, which, while it increases wealth,

products also conflicting interests; there is not that severe

competition and struggle for existence, or for wealth, which the

dense population of civilized countries inevitably creates. All

incitements to great crimes are thus wanting, and petty ones are

repressed, partly by the influence of public opinion, but chiefly

by that natural sense of justice and of his neighbour's right,

which seems to be, in some degree, inherent in every race of man.

Now, although we have progressed vastly beyond the savage state

in intellectual achievements, we have not advanced equally in

morals. It is true that among those classes who have no wants

that cannot be easily supplied, and among whom public opinion has

great influence; the rights of others are fully respected. It is

true, also, that we have vastly extended the sphere of those

rights, and include within them all the brotherhood of man. But

it is not too much to say, that the mass of our populations have

not at all advanced beyond the savage code of morals, and have in

many cases sunk below it. A deficient morality is the great blot

of modern civilization, and the greatest hindrance to true


During the last century, and especially in the last thirty years,

our intellectual and material advancement has been too quickly

achieved for us to reap the full benefit of it. Our mastery over

the forces of mature has led to a rapid growth of population, and

a vast accumulation of wealth; but these have brought with them

such au amount of poverty and crime, and have fostered the growth

of so much sordid feeling and so many fierce passions, that it

may well be questioned, whether the mental and moral status of

our population has not on the average been lowered, and whether

the evil has not overbalanced the good. Compared with our

wondrous progress in physical science and its practical

applications, our system of government, of administering justice,

of national education, and our whole social and moral

organization, remains in a state of barbarism. [See note next

page.] And if we continue to devote our chief energies to the

utilizing of our knowledge the laws of nature with the view of

still further extending our commerce and our wealth, the evils

which necessarily accompany these when too eagerly pursued, may

increase to such gigantic dimensions as to be beyond cur power to


We should now clearly recognise the fact, that the wealth and

knowledge and culture of the few do not constitute civilization,

and do not of themselves advance us towards the "perfect social

state." Our vast manufacturing system, our gigantic commerce, our

crowded towns and cities, support and continually renew a mass of

human misery and crime absolutely greater than has ever existed

before. They create and maintain in life-long labour an ever-

increasing army, whose lot is the more hard to bear, by contrast

with the pleasures, the comforts, and the luxury which they see

everywhere around them, but which they can never hope to enjoy;

and who, in this respect, are worse off than the savage in the

midst of his tribe.

This is not a result to boast of, or to be satisfied with; and,

until there is a more general recognition of this failure of our

civilization--resulting mainly from our neglect to train and

develop more thoroughly the sympathetic feelings and moral

faculties of our nature, and to allow them a larger share of

influence in our legislation, our commerce, and our whole social

organization--we shall never, as regards the whole community,

attain to any real or important superiority over the better class

of savages.

This is the lesson I have been taught by my observations of

uncivilized man. I now bid my readers--Farewell!


THOSE who believe that our social condition approaches

perfection, will think the above word harsh and exaggerated, but

it seems to me the only word that can be truly applied to us. We

are the richest country in the world, and yet cue-twentieth of

our population are parish paupers, and one-thirtieth known

criminals. Add to these, the criminals who escape detection; and

the poor who live mainly on private charity, (which, according to

Dr. Hawkesley, expends seven millions sterling annually is London

alone,) and we may be sure that more than ONE-TENTH of our

population are actually Paupers and Criminals. Both these classes

we keep idle or at unproductive labour, and each criminal costs

us annually in our prisons more than the wages of an honest

agricultural labourer. We allow over a hundred thousand persons

known to have no means of subsistence but by crime, to remain at

large and prey upon the community, and many thousand children to

grow up before our eyes in ignorance and vice, to supply trained

criminals for the next generation. This, in a country which

boasts of its rapid increase in wealth, of its enormous commerce

and gigantic manufactures, of its mechanical skill and scientific

knowledge, of its high civilization and its pure Christianity,--I

can but term a state of social barbarism. We also boast of our

love of justice, and that the law protects rich and. poor alike,

yet we retain money fines as a punishment, and male the very

first steps to obtain justice a. matter of expense-in both cases

a barbarous injustice, or denial of justice to the poor. Again,

our laws render it possible, that, by mere neglect of a legal

form, and contrary to his own wish and intention, a man's

property may all go to a stranger, and his own children be left

destitute. Such cases have happened through the operation of the

laws of inheritance of landed property; and that such unnatural

injustice is possible among us, shows that we are in a state of

social barbarism. Ono more example to justify my use of the term,

and I have done. We permit absolute possession of the soil of our

country, with no legal rights of existence on the soil, to the

vast majority who do not possess it. A great landholder may

legally convert his whole property into a forest or a hunting-

ground, and expel every human being who has hitherto lived upon

it. In a thickly-populated country like England, where every acre

has its owner and its occupier, this is a power of legally

destroying his fellow-creatures; and that such a power should

exist, and be exercised by individuals, in however small a

degree, indicates that, as regards true social science, we are

still in a state of barbarism.

End of Project Gutenberg Etext The Malay Archipelago by Alfred R. Wallace